Let's face it. Thanks to hectic work schedules a lot of us tend to leave other things – like shopping – to the very last minute. But with the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) 2010 happening at the moment, it would be a shame not to take advantage of some of the superb offers available in shops across the emirate.
While it's easy to think that most of the bargains have gone, this couldn't be further from the truth, as we found out last week. With seven days left until the end of DSF (February 28), Emirates Business took on a challenge to find the best last-minute bargains in the city.
This involved yours truly visiting five malls from the beginning of the emirate to the end – Dubai Festival Centre, Deira City Centre, Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates and Ibn Battuta – and finding five certain items in each one in just 90 minutes.
Each will be judged on criteria ranging from the deals available and the time in which we did our shopping.
So how did each mall fare? Read on to find out.
Dubai Festival City Centre
Business outfit: The first store we find displaying the DSF banner is Yours, opposite Fitness First. The staff is incredibly helpful, and offers us a good deal on a Baumler suit, Yves Saint Laurent shirt and Brioni tie for Dh2,200. Sold separately these on-sale items cost Dh1,885 (was Dh3,775), Dh225 (Dh450), and Dh210 (Dh300), respectively.
For shoes, we pick up a pair from Clarks for Dh585 marked down from Dh775.
Total savings: Dh2,515
Evening outfit for her: This beautiful backless grey dress, pictured, is available at Patriza Pepe for Dh420 (was Dh840). To complete the look, Kurt Geiger has a great selection of shoes, including some pink peep-toe ankle boots for Dh629 (was Dh849), and we purchase a matching clutch from Strandbags for a bargain Dh39 (was Dh66).
LCD TV: For DSF, Aftron offers us a 55-inch LCD for Dh6,699 (was Dh6,999). You can also buy it with a 26-inch HD TV for a total of Dh7,499 (additional TV costs Dh1,099 separately).
Why not? Plus, we're doing well with time...
Nintendo Wii: Being the console of the moment, we expected good offers and Panda Hypermarket didn't disappoint offering the white unit and blaster gun for Dh999 (was Dh1,400).
Laptop: Plug-in Electronics features a lot of laptops suitable for students. The best deal we find is a Toshiba for Dh3,549 (was Dh3,949). Plus, a scratch-and-win voucher is offered with every purchase.
TIME TAKEN: One hour, 15 minutes and 53 seconds
TOTAL SAVINGS: Dh4,582
Deira City Centre
Business outfit: Our first stop is Atallah Freij where the assistant offers us a deal on a suit, shirt and tie for Dh1,200. Sold separately, these cost Dh1,125 (was Dh1,500), Dh145 (Dh695) and Dh75 (Dh145). We're slightly confused by the suit's make though. Giorgio Cavalli anyone? For shoes, we buy a black pair from Aldo for Dh270 ( Dh360).
Total savings: Dh1,230
Evening outfit for her: We're shocked by the stores having sales yet not displaying their DSF certificate! Thankfully, Zara is in the DSF spirit and we find a fantastic range of sale items – but you really need to go through the racks to find a bargain buy.
We're chuffed with our long black dress for Dh350 (previously Dh595). For shoes, we pass by Nine West which has perfect pair for Dh229 (was Dh329). We also buy a pretty black and gold bag from Dumond for Dh125 from Dh195.
Laptop: Granted, the hypermarket can be ultra-busy at times, but don't let that deter you – Carrefour has a great selection. The member of staff that helps is very knowledgeable, and we pick up a Toshiba, pictured, for Dh3539 from Dh3939.
Nintendo Wii: We find the trendy new black console with 15 free Wii Sports games from Geekav for Dh999. Was Dh1,099.
LCD TV: We find Sharaf DG and its best offer is the LG brand for Dh8,999. This comes with a Blu-ray DVD player, home cinema system or 22-inch TV for free. Also, totally loving the talented shop assistant demonstrating the karaoke machine.
TIME TAKEN: 44 minutes and 12 seconds
TOTAL SAVINGS: Dh3,445
Business outfit: Where we park takes us to the section of the mall dedicated to clothing, and the first store we see is Caramelo with it offering 50 per cent off its Spanish-made suits. We snag a deal for a complete outfit for Dh2,250 down from Dh5,320.
Meanwhile, two shops down is Moresch, offering stunningly crafted Italian men's shoes with top discounts. We're proud of ourselves for getting a pair for Dh1,245 down from Dh7,995. Bargain!
Total savings: Dh9,820
Evening outfit for her: Following our menswear purchases, we come across loads of womenswear outlets, the first being Monsoon offering DSF offers. Although sizes are limited, we find a silk, jewel-decorated purple dress for Dh386. It was Dh998.
One thing we discover in this mall is don't be afraid to enter designer stores during the sale fearing you won't find anything. We pick up a pair of beautiful strappy heels from Karen Millen, pictured, for Dh400, which were originally Dh1,010.
For the bag, we find one later at Aldo (opposite the Aqaurium) for Dh110 from Dh500.
LCD TV: We seem to have a problem finding the electronic stores as they're on the other side of the shopping centre. On our way, we see the LG store where the new "borderless" 55-inch LCD can be yours for Dh9,999. It also comes with a Blu Ray DVD player, home cinema system or 22-inch TV for free. That'll do.
Unfortunately, time is running out...
Nintendo Wii and laptop: No buy, because we're out of time. Whoops.
TIME TAKEN: The maximum time of one hour and 30 minutes. Should have invested in some rollerblades.
TOTAL SAVINGS: Dh12,432
Mall of the Emirates
Nintendo Wii: Disappointed with ourselves for our disastrous Dubai Mall effort, we're determined to make good time here. We head upstairs to Jacky's Express, which has a Wii on offer with two remotes for Dh1,299. Was Dh1,699.
LCD TV: Next door is E-Max, which also has the LG 55-inch on offer for Dh8,999 plus a free DVD player, theatre system or 22-inch TV.
Business outfit: Next up, is G200 where we are offered a suit, shirt and tie for Dh550, down from Dh1,200.
Nearby is Spring, which has a great selection of men's shoes, including the pair we buy for Dh150 (originally Dh205).
Total savings: Dh705
Evening outfit for her: We dare ourselves to go for a trouser outfit, and hit the jackpot at Bershka, finding a top for Dh45, trousers for Dh75, and a Cheryl Cole-style blazer for Dh55. Prices were originally Dh75, Dh155, and Dh170.
For shoes, we can't resist this Kurt Geiger pair, pictured, going for Dh639 from Dh849. Then we get a bag from Stradavarius for Dh50 from Dh95.
Laptop: Final stop is Compu ME where we find an LG notebook for Dh2,699 that was originally Dh3,100.
Did we make it?
TIME TAKEN: 47 minutes and 13 seconds. Still good!
TOTAL SAVINGS: Dh4,392
Laptop: It's our final mall! Our first stop is Geant where we find a Compaq notebook for Dh2,299 that comes with a host of free extras: anti-virus software, mouse, headset, 4GB flash memory and carry case.
Savings: Around Dh800
LCD TV: We're at Harman House where again we find that famous 55-inch LG LCD for for Dh8,999 plus a free Blu-ray DVD player, home cinema system or 22-inch TV.
Nintendo Wii: At Sharaf DG we find the black console, pictured, for Dh999. Was Dh1,099.
Evening outfit for her: Debenhams is the first clothes shop we find displaying the DSF certificate, but frankly, we're disappointed with the tiny selection of sale items on offer. We do find a black Warehouse dress for Dh110 though. It was Dh600.
We find a bargain pair of heels for Dh84 (was Dh120) at Forever 21, and we complete the look with a Nine West bag priced at Dh110 (originally Dh600).
Business outfit: It's a final bit of shopping, and it's safe to say we do not want to enter another store again any time soon (well, maybe on the next pay day...). Our menswear option comes courtesy of Verri, which offers us a complete outfit for Dh600 (was Dh950). As for shoes, we pass by Spring, which has a great pair for Dh190, marked down from Dh259. And we're done!
Total savings: Dh419
TIME TAKEN: One hour, 28 minutes and 42 seconds
TOTAL SAVINGS: Dh3,335
Rules of the game
1. In order to keep it varied, the five items are a range of products for him, her, a child, a student and the home.
These are: a men's business outfit, lady's evening outfit, Nintendo Wii console, laptop, and 55-inch LCD TV.
2. Only one item can be picked from any single store in the mall.
3. A suit, shirt and tie is classified as one item.
4. Only shops displaying a DSF certificate or banner are allowed.
5. Items have to be on sale or on offer for DSF.
6. For fairness' sake, the shopping list is in no particular order. Items have to be picked up from the first shops we come across.
7. Time starts as soon as we enter the mall, and ends as soon as we purchase the last item on our list. Shopping can only last for 90 minutes.
And the medals go to...
Best Deal on a Business Outfit: Dubai Mall
Best Deal on an Evening Outfit: Dubai Mall
Best Deal on a Wii: Savings were the same with all, but we like the black console, so an extra mention goes to Deira City Centre and IBN Battuta
Best Deal on a Laptop: All malls had a great selection on DSF offers
Best Deal on a 55-inch LCD TV: All malls
Fastest Mall to shop in: Deira City Centre
Best Mall for Finding DSF Deals in 90 Minutes: Dubai Mall
GOLD: It's a joint winner between Deira City Centre and Dubai Mall
SILVER: Dubai Festival Centre, Mall of the Emirates and Ibn Battuta malls are silver winners!
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