Dubai: With Ramadan approaching and foodstuff going on discount at major supermarkets and cooperative societies, the Ministry of Economy has fixed the number that one can buy of a certain item so small grocery shops do not misuse the discounts.
Dr Hashim Al Nuaimi, Director of the Consumer Protection Department at the ministry, explained that as a large number of items are sold at less than cost price and many others are sold at up to 50 per cent discount, small grocery shops send their workers to buy large quantities of those discounted items and sell it at a higher price so they can make a higher profit margin.
“We limited the number of items. For example, in Emirates Co-operative Society one can only buy four bottles of Vimto per family, in Lulu you can buy three per family and in Carrefour either two or three bottles per family at a time.” Al Nuaimi said.
He added that there is a plan in place to limit such cases, and he added they did catch a number of cases last year.
He added that the each supermarket monitors the aisles closely through security cameras and anyone suspiciously focusing on some items will be questioned.
Al Nuaimi explained that the consumer protection department has fixed the schedule for inspections this Ramadan, with the first being today (Sunday) at Abu Dhabi’s Fruits and Vegetable Market and the second on Wednesday in Dubai’s Fruit and Vegetable Market.
When asked about the number of items that are discounted across UAE outlets, he said that there are too many to be quantified.
Fareed Al Shamandi, General Manager of Emirates Co-operative Society, said that most of the items on offer are discounted between 45 and 50 per cent. “After this campaign ends, there are two others. The total amount of support provided for these campaigns is Dh20 million and there are over 400 items on sale.”
He added that 250 of those items are below cost price and the rest are discounted between 45-50 per cent, noting that the campaign is supported by the Ministry of Economy.
Ramadan food baskets will be available in all retail outlets across the UAE. The baskets contain essential food items such as rice, sugar, milk, canned foods and cooking oil at discounted prices.
The Ramadan baskets will cost between Dh100-Dh200 and will be sufficient for a family of five for an entire week.