Bargain hunting in Dubai

Learn to save cash, spot a deal and bag that bargain with Time Out Dubai’s
ultimate shopping guide

It is a truth universally acknowledged that every shopper is out for a bargain. A regular purchase may be fun, bring temporary pleasure and give fleeting meaning to the lives of both the shopper and the cashier. A bargain, on the other hand, is an achievement, the result of weeks of sizing up sales; it’s almost ‘legal stealing’ and, whether you actually need the item or not, finding that amazing cut-price gem is the holy grail of shoppers the world over.

Problem is, searching for bargains can be pretty time-consuming, not to mention tiring and more than a little frustrating. To save your sanity (and your wallet), we’ve rounded up some basic rules of bargain hunting to keep you ahead of the pack.

Plan your time

Aimless wandering won’t get you into the sale of the century. Dubai’s malls are huge, and you’ll need determination, not to mention stamina, to get you from one end to the other before anyone else. Once you know the mall, plan which shops you want to visit before you enter, making sure to bag a parking spot near the entrance so you won’t have to drag your purchases too far to the car.

Head to the back of the store

Expert bargain hunters know that window shopping is for novices. If there was anything worth buying in the window, chances are it was snapped up the day the window dresser hung it. When you enter a store, head straight to the back. It’s here that you’ll find a treasure trove of trinkets on sale.

Know what you’re looking for

It sounds obvious, but most people who sidle into malls haven’t a clue what they’re after, and it’s the same people who live to regret what they buy. Don’t wander aimlessly and expect to find great bargains. Be specific about what you want – are you after a new suit for work, or a dress for a wedding? Obviously you may stumble upon something that it would be criminal to leave behind, but if you have a strategy, you’ll streamline your shopping.


The Arab world invented haggling, but today so few people put it to good use. Sure, you probably won’t get anywhere in Louis Vuitton, but head to some of the independent stores and try your luck. If you see a price, slash it in half and start from there. Remember, there is a recession and retailers have been hit hard. Smell their desperation and hammer their prices down.

Empty your car beforehand

There’s nothing worse than buying so much you can’t cart it all home. When you head to a sale, make sure you’ve cleared out your car before you set out. Sure, that dress may not look big, but when you combine it with the three hats you bought, not to mention the nine pairs of shoes and the new picture frame, suddenly you’re driving home with a bulging boot and a back seat full to the brim.

Keep ahead of the sales

Unlike other parts of the world, sales in Dubai are sporadic and frequently under-publicised. Often, you won’t know about a sale until you’re actually in the store. Time Out Dubai has decided to take action – we endeavour to keep you up to date with the city’s top sales, so you can cram your car full before the crowds hit.

Stores: want to publicise your forthcoming sale in Time Out Dubai? Email news of sales and offers to Deadline is two weeks before the date of sale.

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