DUBAI: Day one of Dubai’s super sale did not produce the scuffles and drama that are often associated with American flash sales, but mall footfall was higher than average and retailers received a much-needed boost.
In a move intended to generate economic activity, the Government of Dubai declared that from Thursday to Saturday, shops across the emirate would be able to offer discounts of up to 90 per cent. It is only one of two weekends in the year when shops are allowed to slash prices so heavily.
At Deira City Centre on Thursday afternoon, office workers on their lunch breaks were trying to get a head start on their fellow shoppers.
“I work nearby, and I wanted to have a look at some of the offers before it gets too busy tomorrow,” Joanna, an Emirates employee, said.
She was inspecting the racks of discounted sweaters at Forever 21, while keeping an eye on the time.
“I need to be back in the office soon, and I still need to check a few other shops,” Joanna said.
Some shops are offering sales across the board, such as La Senza, which is offering 50 per cent off on all of its items, while shops like Rivoli have discounts ranging from 15 per cent to 30 per cent on select timepieces.
At least anecdotally, these kinds of promotions have driven traffic to Deira City Centre, a mall favoured by residents of Dubai as opposed to tourists, who tend to favour the mega malls.
“This is much, much busier than usual,” said Nazia, who works on a Damac concession within the mall, selling luxury apartments to shoppers.
According to the saleswoman, it had been like that since the mall opened its doors in the morning.
“I’ve even spoken to a couple of Qataris who flew over this morning just for the sale,” she added.
More than 1,000 participating outlets are promoting a variety of bargains on 250 brands, including Crate & Barrel, Kurt Geiger, GAP, and Nine West.
Timed to coincide with the beginning of Ramadan and summer holidays, there are hopes that the sale will stimulate the retail sector, a main contributor towards Dubai’s economy. Summer months are typically much quieter, with far fewer visitors to Dubai’s malls.
According to a statement from Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment, the government authority organising the sale, it will help increase Dubai’s position as a year-round shopping destination.
One store that was not running any kinds of promotions in Deira City Centre was Bose, the high-end audio equipment maker.
“I don’t think there’s any electronics brands on offer,” said Nadir, the store manager.
When asked if he thought the heavier footfall would benefit his shop regardless, he responded that it wasn’t helping.
“It’s not making any difference, because people come in to the shop, ask if we have any discounts, and when we tell them we don’t, they leave,” he said.
Some people, however, were in the market for more than just clothing.
“I noticed that the sale was mostly apparel and fashion items, which I’m not very interested in, but I liked the selection. The 90 per cent discounts were on very old stock, though,” said Philippa, a writer and photographer.
“I’m not the best person to talk to anyway, as I’m quite broke at the moment. Rents are still high and the last thing I need is a new sweater,” she added.