With forecasts of up to 30 per cent plus, retailers are forecasting a bullish run during the “Back to School” run, which would also be the ballast for increased activity  during the peak buying season until the end of the year.
While consumers are busy at shops across the UAE these days, retailers contend some of the buying might have to wait until Gitex Shopper 2013, which runs from October 5 to 12. That is when splurging should kick in, with retailers expecting those eight days to help generate optimum sales.
“The major jump is to happen during Gitex Shopper [and] the deals tend to be a lot better,” said Ashish Panjabi, chief operating officer at consumer electronics retailer Jacky’s.
For Back to School, everyone from apparel firms to shoe brands want to cash in. “Share of kids’ [related] business shoots up from 12 per cent to close to 30 per cent during those two to three weeks [before the start of the academic year],” said Kunal Kapoor, senior brand manager at Ecco. He said uniform and sports-shoes are among the most popular merchandise at the outlets.
Starting August 28, Lifestyle will offer discounts from 25 per cent off across its Centrepoint outlets. Additionally, Shoe Mart is offering gifts with a purchase of bags and shoes.
The UAE retail sector is expected to continue with its buoyancy during the second half as well. “There’s a lot more confidence this year; most indicators are positive and we expect this trend to continue going forward,” Panjabi said.
Meanwhile, consumer buying trends have been sticking to conventions when it comes to branded material. “This year there has been a specific focus on character themes; old favourites such as Disney Princesses, Hello Kitty and Dora the Explorer accessories make for a trendy line-up that girls are guaranteed to love,” said Ruban Shanmugarajah, general manager of Babyshop in the UAE. “For boys, the introduction of Superman, Spiderman, Smurfs and WWE school gear will surely spark the interest.”