Every year, many parents choose to leave the city when schools close for summer, taking a lot of business with them. As summer crescendos, traffic lessens, the number of houses and apartments available to rent increases and, thanks to thousands of people wanting to sell up before they leave, second-hand shopping is at its best.
Mike McGinley, owner of second-hand book store House of Prose, says he sees a 25 per cent increase in books coming in just after the schools close. While it’s no secret that mall-style shopping is at the top of its game in Dubai, many don’t realise just how many second-hand purchases are out there to be made too. Here are our top 12 places to start spending – while also saving.
Al Aweer Used Car Complex
This 140,000 sq m car suburb is home to more than 100 used car showrooms and has weekly auctions courtesy of Golden Bell (visit www.goldenbellauctions.com to find out what’s on offer this week). Another used car must-try is the great-value Dubai Police auction – they usually take place at the Al Ghusais Police Vehicle Department and the entrance fee is Dhs150. Here, cars that have been in the custody of the police for more than six months and have not been collected go on sale at cheap prices (see the Sell Confiscated and Mortgaged Vehicles at www.dubaipolice.gov.ae for more information).
Opening times vary. Ras Al Khor Road, Al Aweer.
Dubai Designer Market
This monthly second-hand clothing market, now held at Meydan, has been hit and miss in the past, but we were impressed after our visit this month. We were drawn to a stall called Momentum Dubai, selling classic timepieces from the ’20s to the ’90s, including this 1966 Omega Seamaster Chronograph (Dhs19,000). We’re happy to hear that Momentum is opening at DIFC in September.
The next market is on September 10 from 1pm-9pm at Meydan. www.dubaidesignermarket.com.
Dubai Flea Market
Finding gems at this popular flea market requires persistence, haggling skills and an early start. The monthly sale has moved indoors until October and can be found at Stargate in Za’abeel Park every first and third Saturday of the month. Last time we were there we picked up a calligraphy set from China and a hardly-worn Zara cardigan, and we paid less than Dhs70 for both.
Markets normally take place 10am-3pm; Ramadan dates and times TBC. Stargate, Za’abeel Park, www.dubai-fleamarket.com.
This gorgeously feminine store sells a wide range of vintage womenswear from the ’20s to the ’80s. We currently have our eye on these heels (below) for Dhs410, and the range of clutch and shoulder bags (Dhs300-600).
Open daily 10am-10pm. Opposite Dubai Zoo, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 349 5585).
Notice boards at Spinneys and Park n Shop
Check out any supermarket notice board and you’ll find bargains aplenty. There are always loads of cars for sale – and, last time we visited Park n Shop, a trampoline for Dhs500.
Spinneys, Jumeirah 1 (04 349 9688) and Uptown Mirdif (04 288 0335); Park n Shop, Al Wasl Road (04 394 5671).
Dubai Charity Centre
This centre sells clothes, shoes, books and homewares and, while the collection can be haphazard, all proceeds go to Dubai Centre for Special Needs. They’re always looking for donations, so if you have anything you want to get rid of, give them a call.
Open Sat-Thu 10am-1pm, 4pm-8pm; Fri 10am-1pm. Opposite Fishmarket, behind Jumbo Electronics, Karama (04 337 8246).
Dubai Star Jewellery
This small Jumeirah store deals in second-hand watches by premium brands, from A Le Marquand to Zenith. The stock turnover is fast and the website is regularly updated: we have our eye on this Rolex Datejust for Dhs9,500. The store will give you a serial number to check authenticity with the official agent, and offers a buy-back guarantee, paying 80 per cent to buy back any watch bought there.
Open Sat-Thu 10.30am-11pm; Fri 5.30pm-11pm. Beach Centre, Beach Road, www.dubaistarjewellery.com (04 344 8804).
This Jumeirah boutique sells ‘pre-loved’ designer clothes and accessories for about 70 per cent less than original prices. We’d recommend the Chanel costume jewellery (it doesn’t age the way shoes and bags do).
Open Sat-Thu 11am-8pm, Jumeirah Beach Road, Umm Suqeim (04 394 2753).
House of Prose
This second-hand book concept opened in Jumeirah in 1997, but we particularly like the new branch at Dubai Garden Centre – during a visit you can pick up books, shrubs and coffee all at once. Owner Mike McGinley buys books from customers if they’re sellable (otherwise he offers to pass them on to a breast cancer charity, to which he’s already donated 3,000 books). The most he’ll pay you for a paperback is Dhs24, but if you ever buy a book from him and return it, he’ll give you 50 per cent of your money back. In store right now are the latest novels by John Grisham and Karen Slaughter (all second-hand).
Open daily 9am-8pm. Dubai Garden Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 340 0006 ext 308).
You can find almost everything on this site, from property to puppies (aww). The website is well-designed and accessible for both buyers and sellers, and it’s free to use. The Time Out team has used it to buy everything from cars to exercise bikes – in fact, one of us got our job at Time Out via an ad posted on Dubizzle. This should be your first port of call for classifieds.
This online classifieds site sells cars, unwanted travel vouchers (that means cheap hotel stays), Xbox games, collectible stamps (there was a particularly good range from New Zealand when we checked) and, well, everything. The item we found most intriguing at the time of going to press was one of 350 signed Banksy ‘Police Kids Jack and Jill’ prints (left), selling for a cool Dhs80,000.
Used Boats Dubai
This online portal is the ‘largest boat broker’ in the Middle East and, while we’re not all in the market for magnificent vessels like this Dhs550,000 Turkish-built Gullet the Sila II (which comes with six double
en-suite cabins), we could look into saving up for the smaller boats, which start at around Dhs60,000.
Three first-hand bargains
Dubai Summer Surprises runs until July 31, which means bargains galore. Here are our top three shops to visit.
The White Company, Festival Centre
This luxury linen store is normally way out of our price range, so we’re enjoying the 75 per cent discounts currently on offer, which means kingsize sheets for less than Dhs300. If there’s something you specifically have your eye on, we advise calling the store in advance as stock is running out fast.
(04 232 5506).
THE One, Dubai Outlet Mall
This already-discounted mall is full of bargains, but we particularly like the sale at furniture store THE One. It’s currently offering discounts of up to 75 per cent, meaning you can snap up dining chairs for Dhs20 and beautiful dining tables for less than Dhs700.
(04 423 4666).
Bloomingdale’s, The Dubai Mall
This gorgeous store covers beauty, home and fashion, and the summer collections have up to 50 per cent off until July 31. We like the men’s and women’s footwear as there are always unusual brands on hand.
(04 350 5333).