Songkran floral shirt sales wilt this year

Friday, 18 April 2014 From Issue Vol. XXII No. 16 By  Issaree Paipornrueang

Along with the water guns, the arrival of floral shirts in stores heralds the coming of Songkran.

From banks to restaurants to grocery stores, Thais swap out uniforms for the colorful shirts to celebrate the coming of the hot season and the Thai New Year. But this year, political strife in Bangkok has at least one shirt vendor saying sales aren’t as rosy as last year.

Mayjira Kongkeaw, who has been selling Songkran shirts for 30 years at the Naklua Market, has seen sales drop this year, forcing her to cut prices.

“In the past, I could not even sit down because there were so many customers. But this year it seems quiet and not as crowded as before,” the 44-year-old vendor said.

Mayjira Kongkeaw, owner of the Norm Boutique shop, said sales have dropped this year so she cut her prices to 180 baht.Mayjira Kongkeaw, owner of the Norm Boutique shop, said sales have dropped this year so she cut her prices to 180 baht.

Mayjira said she has cut prices from last year’s 190 baht to 180 baht. Her prices, however, are on the high side, as retailers last year reported average prices were as low as 150 baht.

She’s hoping sales would increase as this weekend’s “Wan Lai” day neared, but wondered how much the Bangkok street protests have dampened enthusiasm for the Songkran.

“I’m not sure if it will happen or not because of political unrest. But maybe some of tourists from Bangkok will come to Pattaya,” she said.

Saipin Piamrit, who runs the Darani 2 opposite Wat Chaimongkol on South Pattaya Road, agreed that sales were better last year.  “Sales this year are ok, but they were better a year ago.”

Sommai (surname unknown) who runs an unnamed shop on Soi Hollywood, said that last year sales were better, as it is quieter this year.  “Not many people are coming around to buy shirts … It might be because there are too many shirts vendors this year and the economic situation is not very good.”

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