Supermarkets and fashion stores in the UK mark Ramazan with special sales hoping to cash in on the “Ramazan rush.” What they don't expect is a stream of customers from Gulf.
Every summer, an estimated 50,000 visitors swap the blazing heat of Gulf states for the relative cool of London, flocking to shops, including Harrods, Primark and Marks & Spencer in the process. And for the past few years, the summer shopping season has fortunately coincided with the holy month.
Noticing the trends, shopping centres have capitalised on this. Selfridges has extended opening hours before and during Ramazan; Westfield London has introduced prayer rooms along with Arabic-speaking salespersons with selling cards celebrating Eid.
Read: Convenience: 316 Ramazan Bazaars to be set up, says chief secretary
Earlier this month, Mango launched a special Ramazan collection as well, “seeking alternatives to replace the traditional abayas and chadors with creative designs”.
Similarly in 2014, DKNY launched a Ramazan collection – a full range, featuring duster coats, leather jackets and silk jogging bottoms – while, next month, Armani will release a box of Ramazan chocolates.
While most British Muslims can relate to having to buy a few essentials before Ramazan – dates, new hijabs, a sleek new abaya for Eid, a Ramazan shopping spree is an alien concept for most.
On the other hand, the average Gulf shopper spends £152 per transaction, according to a 2014 study by Worldpay, a company that processes card payments.
Qatari shoppers were the most extravagant, spending an average of £288.17 per trip to the till. In comparison, European visitors tend to spend £49.
Read: Ramazan preparations: Rs13 million released for subsidy payments
With the Muslim population in UK at 4.4% according to the last census, it’s only a matter of time before more fashion brands reach out to British Muslims as well as to customers coming in from the Gulf.
The article originally appeared on The Guardian