x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Entertainer puts on a good show

The UAE publisher of the Entertainer is struggling to meet demand for its latest set of books as customers rush to take advantage of two-for-one offers.

The Entertainer has sold nearly 4,000 books online within seven weeks of launching this year's editions. Randi Sokoloff / The National
The Entertainer has sold nearly 4,000 books online within seven weeks of launching this year's editions. Randi Sokoloff / The National

A UAE publisher of discount vouchers is struggling to meet demand for its latest set of books as customers rush to take advantage of two-for-one offers.

James Gosling, the business development director at The Entertainer, said the company has had to call stocks back from stores to cope with customer orders online.

"We have had to bring a few [books] back to ensure that the guys online are getting a good service," he said. "We are always worried when the book comes out whether the demand will be good, but it's been fantastic."

The Entertainer has sold nearly 4,000 books online within seven weeks of launching this year's editions, which came out last month, compared with 1,200 in the same period last year, Mr Gosling said.

Total sales online and in stores last month were up 25 per cent on the same month in 2010 and sales this month are trending at 48 per cent up on last January.

The company expects to sell a total of 120,000 books this year across all markets, up from 80,000 last year.

It produces 13 types of books containing hundreds of vouchers, including two-for-one deals for restaurants, hotels, golf courses and day trips.

The company's sales usually rise in the year's first few months as the vouchers are valid during the calendar year.

About 40 per cent of sales occur in the three months from December 1 through the end of February, with sales then remaining steady until November, Mr Gosling said.

He said the potential stigma in using a discount voucher is no longer an issue for many UAE customers, who are seeking value for money.

"People are happy to use a voucher because they are happy to save a lot of money," he said.

There has been a boom in the past 12 months in daily-deals websites such as Groupon, Cobone and LivingSocial, which Mr Gosling said had helped to raise the profile of The Entertainer.

"I think there is less of a stigma partly due to Groupon and Cobone.com that are getting the discount product in the market," he said.

The Entertainer was launched in 2000 by Donna Benton, Mr Gosling's wife, and sells discount books in seven markets, including in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Cyprus.

rjones@thenational.ae