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From ‘bling’ to bargain basement

From ‘bling’ to bargain basement

Dubai retailers are expected to drop their obsession with luxury, and start to offer goods at more competitive prices.

April 5, 2010 3:57 by

Anyone fancy a bit of bargain-hunting at Mall of the Emirates?

It’s a strange question – not least, because the posh malls of Dubai are known primarily for their exorbitant prices and luxury goods, rather than knock-down prices.

But in the fallout of the financial crisis, this could change. Retailers are expected to play down the exclusive, ‘luxury’ image, and refocus their efforts to offer better value for money.

According to a report issued today by real estate services firm Jones Lang Lasalle, the obsession with luxury brands is fading, with Dubai shops looking for “a back-to-basics approach”.

“Consumer shopping budgets have been reduced significantly. This represents a shift away from luxury driven retail. For retailers and mall owners, there is now heightened competition to aggressively capture shoppers’ interests and disposable income,” the report said.

“For the remainder of 2010 and beyond, Dubai’s retail market is likely to [see] an increased emphasis on competitive pricing, creative marketing programs, convenience shopping and value for money… This trend is likely to result in the repositioning of both existing and new retail centers away from the previous focus on luxury brands towards value merchandising.”

The Jones Lang Lasalle report said that the future health of the retail market “will be primarily driven by the speed with which retail spending increases across Dubai”.

“Retailers and mall owners reported a typical decline of at least 20 percent in retail sales during 2009. Anecdotal evidence suggests that retail sales are now starting to recover, with increased footfall and turnover being reported by some retailers during the recent Dubai Shopping Festival. The Dubai Chamber of Commerce reports that total retail spending in Dubai is expected to increase by around 4 percent in 2010 and by more than 8 percent in 2011.”

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