AFTER a two-year gap, stationers are seeing a surge in demand for school supplies as the state government announced that schools would reopen on a regular basis on June 27. demand as schools and colleges would resume regularly this year,” said Arjundas Ahuja, founding president of the Vidarbha Pen and Stationers Association in an interview with The Hitavada.
Regarding the resumption of business activity, merchants have planned ahead and equipped their stores with the necessary supplies required by the students. Stationery supplies consist of hundreds of small items, including various types of pens and pencils, erasers, scales, geometry boxes, slates, notebooks, refills, chalks, binders, tiffins, baskets and office supplies like file folders, cardboard folders, box folders, staplers, pins, scissors, cardboard, punchers among others, he said.
“There are hundreds of items a stationery needs to display. The range is huge and for one store it is not possible to stock all the items,” he pointed out.
Although merchants expect business to pick up, they are still concerned about the issue of rising prices for stationery supplies. There was a 30-50% increase in stationery products due to rising raw material prices and supply constraints due to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, he said.
He said traders had suffered heavy losses over the past two years due to lockdowns and schedule restrictions due to the spread of COVID-19. Many merchants in the stationery sector had to close their stores because they could not bear the financial burden they had to bear at that time. Many of them have sought employment or turned to other businesses.
“The situation was so bad that the Vidarbha Pen and Stationers Association had only 150 members out of a total of 260 members. Members who left the association could not pay the annual renewal fee of Rs 900,” he said. “Traders are expecting better days ahead. As schools and colleges reopen, the flow of customers is set to increase. With everything becoming normal, traders are hoping there will be no more blockages,” Ahuja added.