Deira City Centre
Shoppers at Deira City Centre. the UAE’s brick-and-mortar retailers are pushing their own versions of discount-heavy Black Friday promotions, Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: November Fridays are now for everyone — the UAE’s brick-and-mortar retailers are pushing their own versions of discount-heavy Black Friday promotions as their online competition.

“End-of-November sales have created a brand new sales window for UAE retail sector — and this year it seems that nearly every other brick-and-mortar retailer has come on board,” said an industry source.

“Until last year, these Black/White Friday promotions only had the interest of online retailers. And between October to mid-December, there were no serious promotions.

Now, UAE-based electronics retailer Eros is pushing its "Red Sale" from November 23 to December 2, 2019, with a buy-now-pay-later option at zero interest.

Bigger, wider

“But now, no brick-and-mortar retailer can afford not to have a promotion on in November. In fact, in many respects, the discounts are bigger and wider now than at any other time in the retail calendar.”

This way, retailers have an additional two weeks of promotions before they move into the holiday sales peak period later next month.

Also, for tech retailers, it also means being able to create perfectly-timed promotions on the latest and in-demand gadgets that would have hit local stores in September and October.

So, if that means a 10-15 per cent plus discount on the latest iPhone, then that’s the way to go. Keep the inventory moving out of the stores ù online and offline.

That’s the key theme from these November promotions.

Clear spike

For LuLu Group, the November promotions could translate into a 30 per cent gain on what it achieved through its online portal last year.

“It sure has been the “Big Bang” online push we had been aiming for since last year,” said V. Nandakumar, Chief Marketing Officer at the hypermarket chain.

“And that’s exactly what we have named our November promotions, which run both at our stores and on the portal. We didn’t want to tie it to any “Friday” or colour.

“Any incremental consumer spend we achieve through our portal represents a win for us — because we already have the rest of the infrastructure in place to support online.”


The end of November sales is essentially an Amazon construct, with its annual White Friday series. Alibaba and all the other Chinese tech giants cottoned on to the “Singles Day”, which falls on November 11.

Live updates of sales figures are displayed on a large screen during Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s annual November 11 Singles' Day online shopping event in Shanghai, China, on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. Image Credit: Bloomberg

This year, Alibaba clocked in $38 billion plus that day.

In the UAE, online retailers have painted their own versions of these promotions, with white, yellow and black being the colours of choice.

“This has created a mindset whereby consumers are willing to make their end-of-year purchases,” said a retailer. “That means the per-ticket purchase could be much higher than the average. This is why retailers of all kind need to be there with competing offers.

“Because of you are going to wait until end December for your own promotions, the shopper may have already bought elsewhere.”