Dubai: The three-day super sale that began on Thursday with discounts of up to 90 per cent turned out to be a major success, with massive crowds flocking to all major malls in the city.
The exceptional footfall resulted in long queues and traffic snarls around The Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates, City Centre Mirdif and other major shopping centres, prompting authorities to temporarily close down parking entrances to these malls.
With just one week to go for Ramadan, the big promotion seems to have been timed to perfection, drawing in large crowds from far and wide, resulting in bumper sale for many retailers.
Apart from the long queues of vehicles leading up to the malls, serpentine queues of people could also be seen at the cash counters of major retail stores inside the shopping centres.
Restaurant and coffee shops inside the malls also seemed to have a field day, though they weren’t offering any discounts.
Dubai Police closed the parking entrances to The Dubai Mall, City Centre Mirdif and Mall of the Emirates from 4pm on Friday due to huge congestion in the malls’ parking areas.
Speaking to Gulf News, Brigadier Saif Muhair Al Mazroui, director of the Traffic Department in Dubai Police, said the entrances to all major shopping malls in Dubai were closed due to the rush for the three-day super sale.
“We closed the entrances at 4pm because the parking lots in these malls were packed to capacity. The number of people visiting the malls was higher than usual due to the super sale,” said Brigadier Al Mazroui.
Dubai Police coordinated with the mall managements in closing the gates and diverting the traffic to alternative parking areas.
“There are alternative parking lots around the malls and our officers are diverting traffic to these areas. The gates will remain closed until the visitors leave the malls,” he added.
He urged shoppers and visitors to use taxis and public transport to reach the malls.
A spokesperson for Majid Al Futtaim Properties, owners of City Centre Mirdif and Mall of the Emirates, also urged shoppers to use public transport to make the shopping experience better.
“All of Majid Al Futtaim’s malls in Dubai are welcoming shoppers enjoying the three-day Super Sale. Due to high traffic volumes and parking congestion, we recommend using public transport where feasible,” said the spokesperson.
According to shoppers, Mall of the Emirates has been the scene of serpentine queues of people at cash counters and that of cars in the parking lots since morning.
Several shoppers said they had to wait for a long time to get parking inside the mall. Many took public transport while many others parked their cars elsewhere to get into the mall for the super sale.
Yasir Sayed, a banker who lives in Sharjah, said he took his family to Mall of the Emirates on Friday after finding out on Thursday that the super sale is happening only in Dubai.
“The parking was almost full on all floors and we had to go to the topmost floor and wait there. We were lucky that we got in before the police closed the entrance. We were actually planning to wait for another 15 minutes, as we saw one man take out his car. But luckily another guy finished his shopping and took out his car first.”
Ramesh D., who works with a construction company, said he and his friends parked their car at a construction site near the mall.
“We did not come because of the sale. We just came to chill out and also buy a mobile for my friend. But we did not even try to park here because we saw the rush outside the mall,” he said.
Praseetha Rajesh, a pharmaceutical product manager, said her family parked the car at LuLu Hypermarket, where they had lunch and walked across to Mall of the Emirates.
“One of my friends who was already at Mall of the Emirates called up and told us about the parking chaos. It took about half an hour for her to get parking. So she warned us. We couldn’t avoid coming here because my husband had to do some last-minute shopping before he flies to India tonight,” she said.
Ermie M. who took a bus from Dubai Sports City to Mall of the Emirates, said that since her employer had gone for shopping on Thursday night, she was aware of the rush.
At The Dubai Mall, the scene was not much different, as congestion in the mall’s massive parking area spilled over to the surrounding roads, forcing police to intervene and close down the entrances.
Talking about his experience, Norle Serviano from the Philippines said: “There was a lot of traffic inside and outside the mall. I took me an hour to find a parking space and before that I had to negotiate traffic for 20 minutes on the road leading to the mall. I was actually surprised because I came last Friday and it was normal, I wasn’t expecting so many people.”
Shanish Ramanathan, an Indian expatriate based in Abu Dhabi, came all the way to Dubai for the sale, but had to contend with traffic before he could enjoy the promotions.
“It took me a very long time to drive into the mall, a lot of entrances were closed. The road leading to the mall took around one hour and then it took another 45 minutes to find a parking space, it’s been very crowded with a lot of people coming to the mall today due to the sale,” said Ramanathan.
A security guard at The Dubai Mall also said that this Friday has been busier than usual.