x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Christmas comes early for Dubai supermarket shoppers

Christmas merchandise is coming to shops earlier than ever this year as supermarkets adapt to a trend for expatriates to spend their holiday season in Dubai.

DUBAI // Christmas merchandise is coming to shops earlier than ever this year as supermarkets adapt to a trend for expatriates to spend their holiday season in Dubai rather than take increasingly expensive flights home. Supermarkets are launching Christmas lines early, mirroring the practice in Britain, where retailers start promoting them from the first week of October. Choithrams, the supermarket chain, currently has the only Christmas products on sale - including confectionery, lights and tinsel - although other retailers are looking to follow suit soon. Shoppers in The Greens residential district were not surprised that supermarkets are trying to capitalise on the commercial opportunities that Christmas offers. "This is the first time that I have seen Christmas products on sale so early here, Danny Russel said. "Many more people will be staying over Christmas this year and I expect the supermarkets have forecasted this." A spokesman for Choithrams said he thought customers would appreciate the option of preparing for Christmas in advance to avoid the stress of last-minute shopping. "Christmas is a very busy time for our stores. We want to provide customers with a wide range of products to choose from and offer flexibility on when they can buy them. This is why we have already introduced some Christmas-themed items to our stores," the spokesman said. Spinneys, popular with British expats looking for familiar brands from home, said it would not display Christmas merchandise until next month. Carrefour said it would introduce Christmas goods and decorations on Dec 1. The cost of Christmas flights has increased by about 30 per cent and many Dubai residents plan to stay in the country. Tina Leamon, from England, plans to bring her family to Dubai because it is her Christmas location of choice. "I see this as my home, so I want to enjoy Christmas here. With more people spending Christmas in Dubai year on year, a great spirit builds up in the community. I think it's a fun place to spend Christmas and my parents are looking forward to coming over. You can buy everything you need to create an authentic Christmas, except the weather." tbrooks@thenational.ae