x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Crowds flock to Dubai and Abu Dhabi malls to celebrate Eid

Cinemas, restaurants and shops were packed as thousands escaped the scorching heat and enjoyed the first day of Eid Al Fitr in Dubai and Abu Dhabi malls.

Holidaymakers and tourists pack Dubai Mall for the first day of the Eid Al Fitr break. Satish Kumar / The National
Holidaymakers and tourists pack Dubai Mall for the first day of the Eid Al Fitr break. Satish Kumar / The National

DUBAI // Cinemas, restaurants and shops were packed as thousands escaped the scorching heat and enjoyed the first day of Eid Al Fitr in Dubai and Abu Dhabi malls.

Dubai Mall welcomed crowds as many people who had spent the past month fasting for Ramadan made the most of the end of the holy month.

Although most of those enjoying a public holiday were residents, the high temperatures have not put off tourists from visiting Dubai.

“It’s my first time in Dubai and I’m really enjoying the atmosphere here today,” said Peter Smith, who was visiting from South Africa.

“I decided to make a short break because the prices are pretty reasonable at the moment and I’m glad I did. Everyone is in a festive mood.”

The humidity was above 50 per cent for much of the day, making it too uncomfortable to be outdoors.

Most visitors enjoyed lunch in one of the mall’s packed restaurants.

“We’re here with my two daughters,” said Sally Caborn from the UK, who was having a coffee with her husband.

“The girls have gone to do a bit of shopping so we’re making the most of a bit of peace and quiet.

“We’re planning on going away for August but thought it would be nice to experience Eid in Dubai.

“For the last few years Ramadan has coincided with our summer holidays so we’ve been out of the country.”

Although many of the shops were busy not all retailers saw an increase in trade.

“We’ve had a lot of people coming in to look at things but most of the purchases have been for smaller items so far,” said a worker at electronics store Sharaf DG.

“I think most people have already made their big Eid gift purchases before today, but from now on things will start to get back to normal, although people are still going to be going on vacation over August.”

Dozens of people were in the Go Sport shop with a close eye on the sale items.

“There’s a big difference between today and during Ramadan,” said a worker at the store.

“People are in a good mood and I think that is encouraging them to make some impulse buys.”

It was a slightly different scene in Abu Dhabi, where some of the malls were much quieter.

Ryan Dempsey and Gillian Honey went to The Galleria on Al Maryah Island to have lunch and look for sales on baby items for their three-month-old daughter, Olivia.

They decided to stay home for Eid this year rather than travel, as they did during the other two years they have lived in Abu Dhabi.

Shopping in the capital was quiet because many residents are travelling for Eid, they said.

“There are a lot of people gone right now,” said Ms Honey, who is originally from Mexico.

“It’s been really nice. The city’s been really quiet.”

Being in the capital for the holy month meant the family could avoid the city’s usual traffic and enjoy going out for iftar, said Mr Dempsey, 39, from the United States.

“It was an experience,” he said.

Business at the Marina Mall has been better for the past two or three months compared with last year, especially in the last two weeks of Ramadan, said one general manager at a children’s store at the mall.

But with newer shopping centres in the capital, such as Dalma Mall, the customers have “spread out”, said the manager, who asked not to be identified because of company policy.

Zara released a special collection for Ramadan that helped to drive sales, said Sabrina Musieva, manager of the women’s section at the store’s Marina Mall shop.

“This particular preparation brought fruitful results,” she said.

Most people had already done their shopping for gifts and other items before the start of Eid, Ms Musieva added.

nhanif@thenational.ae

lcarroll@thenational.ae