Businesses miss usual Eid bustle

DUBAI/ABU DHABI — Businesses in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are missing the usual hustle and bustle associated with Eid shopping though the festival days are round the corner. And it is blamed on a number of factors — high inflation, skyrocketing prices and, even, weak dollar!

By Riasbabu And Anwar Ahmad

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Published: Wed 10 Oct 2007, 8:40 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 4:47 AM

Unlike the previous years, traders say the turnout of Eid shoppers has been low till now. They hope the sales will pick up in the next two days.

While the businesses say the skyrocketing prices are due to inflation, many shoppers say it is a usual phenomenon during festival seasons. For instance, the price of gold — a favourite item of Eid shoppers — has risen from Dh72 per

gram last month to Dh81.5 per gram as of yesterday. The prices of textiles have increased by 10 per cent and those of general commodities 5-10 per cent in one month.

Sumaya Ahmed, a shopper, said: “I have been living in Dubai for the past six years. Every festival season, the prices of commodities shoot up. This year, I thought I would stock things early. When I went shopping two weeks ago, I was shocked to see that the prices had already gone up.”

Faisal Ismail, a resident of Bur Dubai, said: “I am already struggling to survive due to the high cost of living. The recent increase in the prices has forced me to scale down my Eid celebrations.”

Abu Dhabi residents are also not going on a shopping spree this Eid. They are limiting themselves to buying only clothes and confectionery due to the high prices.

Fatima Mohammed, an Abu Dhabi resident, said, “I did not purchase a lot this year. I only bought clothes. I found the prices are about 25 per cent higher than last year.”

“We are buying things most essential for Eid,” an Indian shopper from Mumbai, Jamal Ahmad Khan said.

Shoppers in Abu Dhabi are not falling for promotional offers either. “We are already struggling with high rents and can’t shell out much for festivities,” said one of them.

Nandakumar, Communication Manager of Emke Group, which runs the Lulu supermarket chain, said: “This is a competitive market. Nobody wants their outlets to be known as expensive. The hike in prices is not because the retailers are trying to earn more margin during the festival time but it’s due to the all-round inflation.”

He said most of the products selling in the market here are being imported from other countries. With the dollar getting weak, the currencies of exporting countries have become stronger. Naturally, the exporters demand more money for the products, Nandakumar said.

“We have launched some confectionery products especially for the Eid Al Fitr. Most of the people are purchasing clothes this time,” said Bejoy Pulicken, Advertising and Marketing Manager at Abu Dhabi Cooperative Society, a big chain of hypermarkets in the capital.

Although the gold market in Dubai faced an initial slowdown due to the the high prices, jewellers said there have been a marginal increase in sales in the past few days.

“The sudden rise of gold prices affected sales during last month. However, the sales have picked up marginally as people are gearing up for Eid. We expect a heavy turnout in the next two days,” said Babu John, managing director of Sky Jewellery.

Textile and gift retailers in Dubai are also glum due to the poor turnout of Eid shoppers.

“We expected a heavy rush of Eid shoppers from the third week of Ramadan. But the response has been disappointing so far. We hope we would get good business in the next two days,” said a textile shop manager in Karama Centre.

“I think people do not have enough money to celebrate Eid as most of them hardly save much with the rising cost of living,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Economy urged all traders and suppliers to avoid any form of exploitation of consumers. In an advertisement published in the local news papers, the ministry warned that the violators would be prosecuted under the consumer protection rules.

The government had held meetings with the leading outlets asking them not to increase the prices of products in the holy month.

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