The soaring cost of key commodities in Dubai is forcing shoppers away as majority of expats say that the prices here now equal to the prices in their home countries. Meanwhile, oil prices have been propelled by regional unrest to a 30-month high. These increasing costs are key concerns for retailers and consumers, particularly in the UAE, which imports as much as 85 percent of its food.
Survey by local online news daily revealed that a whopping 64 percent of expatriates now avoided shopping in the tax-free emirate in favour of bulk-buying clothes and other goods in their home countries when on leave.
More than 90 percent of those polled said they considered cosmetics, clothes and electronics to be more expensive in Dubai when compared with some other countries. More than half said prices were between 10 and 20 percent higher. “It really affects the way I shop,” said one British expatriate. “I will wait until I go home to buy most of my stuff. I wouldn’t buy things that are more than 15 percent more expensive.”
A foreign worker from Scotland said she regularly felt over-charged by franchise branches of stores that are branded as bargain fashion chains in their domestic markets. “I find that goods in Dubai are a lot more expensive,” she said. “The ‘no-tax culture’ does not seem to transpire into consumer goods at all. And there are very few offers in stores. It’s very irritating.”
High prices of retail goods have long been a complaint among Dubai expatriates. Analysts said the gap in costs could be partly a reflection of the franchise model that dominates the GCC retail markets, and allows local partners to choose the price point of the goods.
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