x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Dubai shoppers' taste for luxury boosts sales

Bloomingdale's luxury sales in Dubai is outpacing its American counterparts, while Louis Vuitton has doubled its store to satisfy high-end tastes in the Emirates.

The global economic slowdown has not diminished Dubai shoppers' appetite for glitz and glamour.

High-end sales at Bloomingdale's in Dubai has outpaced that of its US counterparts, while Louis Vuitton has doubled the size of its boutique in the emirate.

Matthew Mackenzie, the general manager of the Bloomingdale's department store in Dubai, said it increased its stock of luxury goods to keep up with demand.

"We're stocking and investing heavily in luxury brands, and we're providing a personal shopping service for our customers," he said.

Louis Vuitton has increased the size of its Mall of the Emirates store to more than 600 square metres.

"What we wanted to provide is a bigger space, because the success is there," said Valerie Chapoulaud, the French brand's president of south Europe, who also oversees the Middle East. She expected sales in the region to grow in the "double-digit" range, as it did last year.

Luxury sales globally slipped 8 per cent in 2009 compared with 2008, to €153 billion (Dh775.43bn), according to the research firm Bain & Company. This began to rebound last year, with world sales rising an estimated 10 per cent to €168bn, Bain says.

The latest financial results at Louis Vuitton's parent company, LVMH, show sales of fashion and leather goods enjoyed 14 per cent organic growth in the first nine months of last year, compared with the same period a year earlier.

Sales at Macy's, Bloomingdale's parent company, also rose. For the fiscal year to date, Macy's sales reached US$23.7bn (Dh87.05bn), up 6.6 per cent from total sales of $22.24bn in the first 48 weeks of the fiscal year in 2009.

Mr Mackenzie declined to give specific figures of the performance of the store at Dubai Mall, Macy's first outlet outside the US. But he said sales had grown on the back of the higher numbers of visitors to the shopping centre.

He said GCC tourists made up the biggest segment of consumers. "That's the nature of our luxury brand portfolio and it's also the nature of the market here. Dubai is the only developed market within the GCC and consequently, when once upon a time you flew to Europe to enjoy luxury brands, [consumers are] coming here to enjoy them."