Dubai: It's the time of year when the bustling Satwa neighbourhood is turning itself into a veritable mini-forest — of the transportable kind that is.
Natural Christmas trees line the streets vying for buyers' attention alongside flowers and other goods that mark this period in the calendar.
The trees, mostly imported from Canada, are being delivered to the shops by the truckloads. A prospective buyer will be spoilt for choice — there are many varieties of Christmas trees lining the shop aisles and on the pavements. There's fir, but in Satwa, spruce trees are the preferred choice, particularly the blue spruce.
And it's a lucrative business. "We start importing trees in the last week of November and sell up to 700 trees before Christmas," said Vicky V., manager of Fresh Flowers.
His shop has been selling spruce trees for some years now, and sales continued to climb to new highs.
Most customers are Europeans, though there continues to be a fair sprinkling of Arab and Asian buyers as well. The trees end up in households, offices and business establishments across the UAE.
"We have good business selling flowers and plants all year, but this is the extra that gives us at least Dh300,000 in sales during this season," Vicky commented.
Prices range from Dh250 to Dh5,000. "It depends on the height and the bulk of the tree," Vicky said.
The taller the tree and the more verdant, the more expensive it is. It is the novelty that draws people into buying real Christmas trees instead of their cheaper — and artificial — peers.
"You can't beat the real thing when it comes to the fragrance, look and feel," he said.
Shoppers can also go on-line to buy their tree. Dxbflower.com started selling real Christmas trees this year. A fully-decorated natural Christmas tree is on sale for $320 (Dh1,174).
Store supervisor Amar said that the trees are imported from Canada and take three days to deliver. Ace Hardware's store along Shaikh Zayed Road has pine trees imported from the US retailing for Dh399.
When Gulf News came calling, Kadija Arthur, senior sales assistant, said the store had just run out of stock, but is expecting a new delivery the next day. "It's one of our fast-moving items," she explained.
The shop started stocking the trees from December 3 and will continue to do so until December 15.
Scores of trees have already been sold.
"People are still calling and ordering," she said, adding she is amazed by the sales turnout.
Then again, it should not be a surprise with the onset of the season of cheer. The tree business is definitely scaling new heights.