Shop till you drop in Dubai, Middle East’s shopping capital


By Mohamed El Hebeishy  Arab News

DUBAI: Long before sky-touching towers reshaped the horizon, Dubai has always been a trading hotspot. And with trading came shopping. Now that traditional souks have made way for glitzy malls, business savvy Dubai is turning into a shopping epicenter, attracting shoppers from all over the world. This year’s ultimate shopping experience, Dubai Shopping Festival, lasts until Feb. 5.

Dubai Shopping Festival, or DSF as it is often referred to, took off in 1996 in a bid to attract more tourists. Fifteen years later, the city is flooded with hardcore shopping tourists who flock to the city for no other purpose but to buy, buy and buy.

There is no surprise in that. After all, Dubai is peppered with shopping malls. From the ritzy and fancy, like the gigantic Dubai Mall and Italian styled El Mercato, to those devoted to wholesale and ‘made in China’ items, like Outlet Mall and Dragon Mart.

Whether you are into this or that, most, if not all, shopping malls offer jaw-dropping bargains, especially during the Dubai Shopping Festival.

Big red signs reading ‘up to 70% discount’ are not uncommon, as many shops use the festival as an opportunity to liquidate their stocks and prepare for the new season’s collection; a win-win opportunity, especially if you are a hungry shopper on the lookout for a good deal. Another strong promotion much utilized during the festival is the ‘buy one get one free’, which simply translates to a 50 percent discount.

Dubai Shopping Festival doesn’t just lure shoppers with big red discount tags, but with irresistible offers as well.

El Mercato offers a chance to enter a draw to win an Infiniti FX35 crossover AWD car for every AED200 spent shopping at the mall. Both Dubai Festival Centre and Dubai Mall present a chance to win luxurious travel packages to Paris, London, Milan and Singapore for shopping sums exceeding AED250 and AED300 respectively. Oasis Center Mall took a different route with its Money Mania promotion where you could win up to AED300,000 in shopping vouchers. Mall of the Emirates, Deira City Centre and Mirdif City Centre opted to beat all the available promotions by offering four weekly draws, spanning the one-month duration of the festival, offering a number of prizes and totaling one million dirhams. More info