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Dull Diwali in New York: Shoppers cut costs

Oct 25, 2008 09:01 PM IST India India

New York: The festival of lights Diwali is normally a big deal for the Indian-American community in New York, but this year the shoppers have to cut corners.

Jackson Heights in New York is paradise for Diwali shoppers as it has all, stores selling sarees, jewellers, sweets and Indian groceries. But this year days leading up to the festival of lights have been dark.

Wall Street's troubles have hit the busy shopping street, and worried shoppers are purchasing less.

"There is a drop of 10 to 15 per cent. And we understand that because people are scared and reserved about it. People don't know where things are going and how hard it's going to get," said director, India Sari Palace at Jackson Heights, Naresh Navani.

"I would easily count 40 to 50 per cent less purchases compared to last year. Like this time of the week, just about 4-5 days before Diwali, we don't even have space to stand in the store and right now we're empty," explained owner, Rajbhog Sweets at Jackson Heights, Nirav Shah.

Stores are trying new strategies, like staying open till late to lure more customers, but so far they don't seem to have paid off.

Diwali is usually a time for celebration in Jackson Heights every year. But not so much this year. Customers are watching every dollar they spend, so sales at stores have dropped taking much of the sparkle away from the festive season.