JEDDAH: Shoppers in Jeddah say ihram-clothing prices have risen and they differ from one shop to another.
“Every year there seems to be an ihram “fashion trend” as I see new and odd styles of the clothing,” said shopper Ahmad Naser Al-Aifi.
Traders claim the prices have increased because of the high quality of the textile, which is not true as I see only new designs but same material (textile).”
He added that, “They (traders) have an agreement to sell in the same increased price then they claim the increase is due to quality. This year I noticed Ihram clothing and items in shops are imported from China and we have no idea about the quality.”
Al-Aifi said a high-quality ihram last year cost not more than SR 55 and now it would cost more than SR 95. The prices of other ihram items like small bags, belts, sun shades (umbrellas) and other items are now sold at very high prices “even with the fact originally they are worth no more than a quarter of their price,” he said.
Yousuf Al-Ghamdi said the prices of all Haj items increase by roughly 30 percent every year.
Shop owner Muhammad Siddiq said the demand comes mostly from domestic pilgrims.
“The type on demand is the Chinese-made ihrams that are made of blended-fiber textiles that is light and helps resist the feeling of high temperatures. Its price is SR 95 to SR 105. Other types of lower quality are sold for SR 55 to SR 85,” he said, adding that other items such as bags and belts are sold for no more than SR 35 and most of them are also imports from China.
Siddiq said that the Haj period is so good a season for traders that some of the shops change their activity during it.
“They do not usually sell Haj items, but when the season approaches, they stock their goods and import items usually bought by pilgrims.”
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has warned earlier from buying unfit Ihrams that could be counterfeit or of low quality and can cause harm to the one wearing it when walking for long periods.
Member of the Commercial Committee at Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry Abdulaziz Bu Knan reportedly said that the increase in the prices of textiles used in making women Ihrams reached 15 percent. The demand in general increased by 20 percent.
A man’s Ihram usually requires 3.5 inches of fabric while a woman’s Ihram would require about 5.
The size is different according to the type of textile, he said, adding that the profit margin for textile traders is 10 to 15 percent because of the competition and the import of small amounts of goods.