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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 13 November 2018

Five favourite discount shops in the UAE  

Here is a list of five outlets where you can find a variety of treats as well as keep the fils in check

It's okay to overlook brand names for what is essentially the same product. Chris Whiteoak / The National
It's okay to overlook brand names for what is essentially the same product. Chris Whiteoak / The National

The introduction of Vat this year, along with price increases in petrol and school fees, means that many UAE residents have had to tighten their belts. It doesn't occur to most of us that we are paying over the odds for everything from clothes to sweets, because we are in a mall or high-street shop. These charge a higher price because of rent, layout and location. Enter the discount shop: one of the consequences of higher pricing is the increase in the number of discount stores popping up around the UAE.

Visiting these outlets is a great way to save. Discount stores are usually found off the beaten track, where the rent they have to pay is less. And while the interior does not quite match the standard of glitz you may have become accustomed to in the UAE, the savings you find will put a spring in your step.

Here is a list of our five favourite discount shops, where you can find a variety of treats as well as keep the fils in check.

Viva Dubai

Viva, which is based on European no-frills supermarket chains such as Lidl and Aldi, aims to cut shoppers’ grocery costs by at least 30 per cent compared to the rest of the market. Landmark Group
Viva aims to cut grocery costs by at least 30 per cent compared to the rest of the market. Landmark Group

Viva, a discount grocery shop based on the concept of no-frills supermarket chains such as Europe's Aldi and Lidl, has very cheap prices. Its concept is based on bulk-buying at cost - direct from the manager, so customers can benefit from the resultant savings. Four of these Landmark group supermarkets have opened so far - two in Sharjah, one in Dubai and one in Ajman - with 11 more planned across the UAE. Go to the website to get a taste of what's on offer. You may not recognise all the brands but for the sake of the savings, you can bypass names for what is essentially the same product. With a litre of olive oil available for Dh19.95, and a kilogram of grapefruit for Dh3.50, we're not complaining.

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Dubai Outlet Mall

Located on Dubai Al-Ain Road (Route 66), this was the first outlet concept in the Middle East.

It might be a long ways off for many, but by driving a little bit out of your way, you can enjoy discounts of between 30 and 90 per cent. Our favourite day to visit is Mondays. The mall operates a concept called Bargain Mondays, which offer even further markdowns, all of which are displayed outside participating shops each week. It gives the mall a souq-like feel and also means you don't have to go digging to find the best available bargains because someone else has done it for you. To see special offers and bargains, visit the website here.

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Brands4u

Brands4u is the biggest factory outlet in Dubai. It's the same concept as Dubai Outlet Mall, but all the brands you want are under one roof. Our favourite outlet is in Reef Mall in Dubai's Deira district; there is also an outlet in Al Raha Mall in Abu Dhabi. Although the merchandise might be one or two seasons out of date, the prices more than make up for it. Brands4U also hosts three-day super-sales in the halls of Dubai World Trade Centre. Like their Facebook page to keep a watch on when the next super-sale will take place.

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Day to Day

As well as your daily grocery essentials, Day to Day is a treasure trove of things you never knew you wanted or needed. From electronic items to clothes, you will find everything you want here for a cheaper price compared to most other stores. Our favourite day to visit is Mondays. Throughout 2018, Day to Day is having what it calls Monday Market Madness. There are loads of products with 30 per cent to 70 per cent off. Take a suitcase with you for all your treasures. Actually, just buy one there. With branches from Sharjah to Deira, visit Day to Day's website to find the branch closest to you.

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Miniso

While this shop doesn't advertise itself as a discount store, it has an amazing array of products at excellent prices. The Japanese store has a clean layout, and the products come in wonderfully neat packaging. You can find everything here from gardening accessories to make-up remover, and the products are cool and kitschy in a classy way. Our favourite buys include the two-sided eyeliner, which gives you the choice of applying a thick or thin line, and the funky range of headphones. There are many branches in the UAE, visit the Facebook page to find the one closest to you. Our favourite is the one in The Springs Souq.

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