x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Retailers thrive as visitors flock to UAE for Eid holiday shopping

An influx of Saudi tourists to Abu Dhabi during the Eid break led to a sharp rise in sales for retailers in the capital.

Mall operators and retailers in the Emirates are hoping the shopping trend continues as seasonal festivals such as Diwali and Christmas approach. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Mall operators and retailers in the Emirates are hoping the shopping trend continues as seasonal festivals such as Diwali and Christmas approach. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

An influx of Saudi tourists to Abu Dhabi during the Eid break led to a sharp rise in sales for retailers in the capital.

Jewellers did particularly well during the week, with Pure Gold reporting a 20 per cent increase in sales compared with last year’s Eid Al Adha, thanks in part to visitors from abroad.

“Most of the tourists were from the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia,” said Firoz Merchant, the chairman and founder of Pure Gold Jewellers.

Gold was particularly popular, while sales of diamonds remained stable compared to the last Eid Al Adha.

“Last year the price [of gold] was high and this year the price was reasonable, so we had a 20 per cent sales increase,” said Mr Merchant.

The clothing retailer Giordano also reported an uplift in sales.

“It was quite positive. With the holiday and a lot of activities in the mall we found that it really brought people out and they were shopping. There has been a significant increase [in sales],” said Ishwar Chugani, the managing director of Giordano Middle East, which operates seven stores in Abu Dhabi.

Emke Group, which manages six shopping centres in Abu Dhabi including Al Wahda and Mushrif malls, reported a substantial rise in visitors, many of whom came from neighbouring countries.

And the long break meant that many residents of Abu Dhabi who may have travelled to Dubai to shop during the break also spent a couple of days in town, said V Nandakumar, an Emke spokesman. “All the malls in our group had good numbers during this extended Eid break,” he added. “Compared to the last [Eid Al Adha] it would be around 20 per cent plus.”

Many mall operators and retailers are hoping that the trend continues, with seasonal festivals such as Diwali and Christmas approaching, in addition to events taking place in the capital that will draw visitors such as Formula One.

“The markets have been a bit tough this year but we [have seen] a lot of improvement from September onwards,” said Mr Chugani.

“I think with the weather improving and more and more people coming to the UAE we expect the last quarter of the year to be quite positive.”

gduncan@thenational.ae