x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Bieber fans snap up star's merchandise in Dubai

Stores reported an increase in sales of T-shirts, mugs and posters featuring images of the star as fans thronged to buy souvenirs of their favourite pop idol.

Justin Bieber was spotted at Dubai Mall on Sunday. Courtesy Dubai Mall
Justin Bieber was spotted at Dubai Mall on Sunday. Courtesy Dubai Mall

DUBAI// Justin Bieber books, shirts and collectibles have been flying off the shelves ahead of the Canadian singer's shows in Dubai.

Stores reported an increase in sales of T-shirts, mugs and posters featuring images of the star as fans thronged to buy souvenirs of their favourite pop idol. The singer himself was at the Dubai mall on Sunday and was photographed coming out of the Givenchy store.

Demand was so high that bookstore Borders ran out of Bieber titles. "We have ordered fresh stocks, especially of his biography," said a store assistant at an outlet in Mall of the Emirates. "We totally sold out last week. These books have been going like hot cakes. We have placed fresh orders from our stores in the UK and US. We are expecting them any time soon."

The most sought-after titles were the singer's biography, First Step 2 Forever: My Story, Just Getting Started, The Fever and Nowhere But Up: The story of Justin Bieber's mom.

Staff at Virgin Megastore, also in the mall, said Bieber merchandise was in huge demand ahead of his Believe Tour shows.

"We sell customised Bieber T-shirts and they are out of stock," said a sales assistant. "Even his mugs are out of stock.

"There is a huge demand for his albums and books. We also have covers for BlackBerrys, iPhones and iPods. We are selling as many as 40 a day."

However, not every store in Dubai has witnessed the same level of Bieber fever.

"We were expecting to sell more of his books," said Hubert Khan, shop manager at Magrudy's. "We had high expectations but did not sell as many copies considering he's a huge celebrity."

Fans were also snapping up anything Bieber-related at the concert venue, the Dubai Sevens Stadium.

"There were T-shirts, paintings of him and posters saying 'I am a Belieber'," said Rohini Gopal, who was one of thousands of people who waited for more than two hours to see the star perform on Saturday.

"My friends bought T-shirts and posters. Prices were a little higher because it was being sold at the concert."

Ms Gopal, 17, said some of her friends went back to see the singer perform for a second time on Sunday.

"People have been fans of him since 2009, since he was a YouTube sensation. He is of our age and our generation. His voice is brilliant and people don't want to miss an opportunity to see him. Who knows when he'll be back in Dubai?"

On Saturday the tardy singer, who finally began his show at 10pm, was booed by some fans.

Concert organisers Done Events thanked fans, and their parents, who put up with the delay.

"Recent shows on this tour have started late and so the artist was also later than scheduled in taking to the stage last [Saturday] night," said a statements on the company's Facebook page on Sunday.

"We really empathise with the fans and their parents who were affected by the delay and to whom this might have caused some inconvenience."

Despite children as young as six attending Bieber's first concert, schools in Dubai did not report a drop in attendance on Sunday.

The organisers cautioned against a possible delay again at Sunday's show.

"We are still very much expecting the artist to start the show at 8pm as scheduled but urge fans again to come well prepared also if the showtime again is moved a little."

Bieber's tour stop in Dubai caused a stir in the city before he sang a word, with the teen reportedly spotted partying on Friday at a Dubai nightclub, dressed in a black T-shirt, a black Fedora hat and dark shades.

pkannan@thenational.ae