Dubai is not the first place that springs to mind when you think of chilly winter weather.
However, that has not stopped the emirate’s stores from reporting a boom in the sale of clothes designed to protect against the cold.
Shops have stocked up on hoodies, boots, beanie hats and coats to match the demand from shoppers wanting to stay warm.
The National took a trip to Ibn Battuta Mall on Tuesday morning to see why people were so keen to buy winter clothes.
“We have had a massive demand for hoodies and beanie hats since the end of November,” said Ericsson Acyatan, owner of the Deobligate fashion stall.
“We have actually run out of beanie hats right now because so many people were buying them.
“Most people bought them because they wanted to stay warm in the winter months here in Dubai, while a lot of others bought them because they were travelling to their own countries for the holidays — where it is really cold.”
The mall itself was packed, in no small part due to the rain outside, which has led authorities to issue safety warnings for motorists — a far cry from the searing heat the region is known for during the summer months.
While demand for winter clothes is nothing new, there has been an increase in demand this year, according to another sales assistant in the mall.
“Sales are up from this time last year, from what I see,” said Shaffan Mohamed, who works at Brand Bazzaar.
“People are looking for hoodies, jackets, dress coats and anything that will keep them warm.”
Preparing for trips abroad
There was also significant demand from UAE residents travelling to their home countries for Christmas and the New Year.
Since the pandemic struck in 2020, this winter is the first holiday season with almost completely unrestricted travel.
“We are selling a lot of hoodies to people who are going away for the holidays and want to be fully prepared when they arrive,” said Dipen Maharzan, a sales assistant in clothing store Hard Soda.
“They don’t want to have to do any shopping in other countries so they make the most of time with family and friends.”
Noraj Gruang, a sales assistant at Max Fashion, said customers could not get enough of winter gear, with items flying off the shelves.
“They are buying loads of boots, hoodies, sweaters and jackets,” said Mr Gruang.
“Winter boots are particularly in demand right now.”
Another store was making the most of the demand for winter clothes with padded coats, hoodies and boots on display.
“We always sell a lot of jackets, hoodies and fashion boots in the winter and this year is no different,” said Kat Caluyna, sales assistant with Forever 21.
“Our best-selling items right now are hoodies and fleeces.”
The UAE is currently experiencing wet weather and a drop in the temperature.
Rain has swept across the country since Monday with heavy showers reported in Dubai and Sharjah. The National Centre of Meteorology has issued a yellow alert for large parts of the Emirates, calling for people to “be aware” of the wet weather.
The weather centre shared a safety notice on social media calling for people planning to travel by road to be vigilant.
More rain and cloudy weather is forecast for much of the country on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Temperatures are set to remain at about 25° in Abu Dhabi and Dubai on both days, dropping below 20° in the evenings.