So was the 24 hour weekend shopping a good idea?
Despite being skeptical about the imitative, Kipp sees considerable promise in the turnout during the graveyard shift at local malls.
October 30, 2012 11:52 by Eva Fernandes
When the 63 hour long weekend on either side of Eid Al Adha were announced, Kipp was skeptical. We asked whether there really was a need for such an indulgence. Would the staff be compensated? Could retailers afford the allowances for the additional resources needed to support such an initiative?
Late September Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced plans for all major malls and shopping centers to stay open around the clock during the three weekends before, during and after Eid. The initiative was promoted as the ultimate experiment in retail; if it was successful it would provide a source of attraction for the incoming crowds of the GCC who perhaps have more nocturnal shopping habits.
Two 63 hour long shopping weekends on, there is only one more ‘shopping extravaganza’ remaining. So how successful was the endeavor? It is still too early for retailers to reveal real figures but the reports thus far are looking rather positive. Gulf News reports that though “sales were sluggish during the graveyard shift at shopping malls over the Eid weekend while food outlets had their plates full with an influx of hungry night revelers.”
In fact, The National credits the shopping extravaganza to be the reason several hoteliers enjoyed a full house this Eid: “The 24-hour shopping experience played a key role in energising Dubai’s key economic sectors, with the [Armani] hotel experiencing booking lead time of at least 10 days prior to the kick-off of the celebrations” Jason Harding, the regional general manager of the Armani Hotel told The National.
Despite thinking otherwise, Kipp did find ourselves in Dubai Mall at three in the morning and true to reports the food outlets and cafes were enjoying a significant share of customers. Retail stores, on the other hand, perhaps unsurprisingly did not boast of a comparable share of customers. The difference between the two is instructive for future such shopping extravaganza-perhaps it will be advisable to keep retail outlets open until midnight. Entertainment avenues including the cinemas, ice rinks and arcades, in addition to food outlets and cafes, should probably stay open till 4 or 5 in the morning.
It remains to be seen whether the additional sales will justify the extra costs involved to support the graveyard shift. Yet there is an impressive lesson to be learned over here and that is the customer base here are definitely interested in spending the later hours of the evening in shopping malls, socialising if not anything else. Regardless, it is worth noting the novelty of the city’s first ever 63 hour long weekend is likely to attract the crowds if not for anything other than to see what the fuss is all about.