Winter sales season revives Egyptian markets

Consumer protection regulations stipulate that sales must be clearly advertised in shops. [Waleed Abu al-Khair/Al-Shorfa]

Consumer protection regulations stipulate that sales must be clearly advertised in shops. [Waleed Abu al-Khair/Al-Shorfa]

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Talal al-Helou roams the markets of Cairo at this time of year -- the winter sales season -- taking advantage of discounted prices to buy what he needs for the house.

Al-Helou, who is in his 50s, told Al-Shorfa he has grown accustomed to purchasing off-season necessities during the sales because prices are constantly on the increase.

"I tend to buy my children's winter clothes for next year as well as essential household and electrical appliances," he said.

This year, al-Helou noticed "serious" discounts in comparison with past years, as well as increased competition among businesses to attract customers during a dormant economy.

The month-long winter sales season began February 4th in most Egyptian provinces.

"This year's sale season is expected to see high demand on the part of Egyptian shoppers after a wave of inactivity plagued the markets in the past several months," said Ahmed Mamdouh, who monitors prices and detects fraud at the Ministry of Supply and Domestic Trade.

Valentine's Day and Mother's Day, which fall in the sales season, are expected to bolster consumer activity, he said, and there is a possibility the sales will be extended.

Some of the 3,000 shops in Cairo and Giza provinces holding sales began offering discounts at an earlier date because they sell international brands which have specially-designated global dates for their sales season, he said.

Each merchant must obtain approval from their respective supply directorate and declare the items they intend to put on sale, Mamdouh said, as the government imposes sales controls and mechanisms.

Merchants must clearly display the percentage of each discount in stores, and both the original and discounted prices on sale items, he said. They also are required to clearly show the sizes and origins of merchandise.

Consumer protection groups are intensifying patrols in the provinces to uncover any violations, Mamdouh said.

Making up for losses

Discounts range between 20% and 70% and primarily affect the price of clothes, electrical appliances and home furnishings, said Raed al-Salmouni, a market controller in Cairo.

Market activity has been "excellent" since the start of the sales and merchants have generally observed government conditions. To date, he said, violations have been "minor": Some shop owners have marked discounted prices in places that are difficult to spot, and others have failed to label items with detailed sizing information, product description or country of origin.

The various chambers of commerce have formed committees to monitor market activity, he said.

Islam al-Ali, who owns a clothing shop in downtown Cairo, welcomed the sales season.

"The markets really needed it, to make up for losses after the recent lull in the market," he said.

Interest in sales this year has been "more than excellent", al-Ali said, noting that customer demand has been greater outside the downtown area, particularly at night, and for women's and children's clothes.

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    غاده عبد الرازق

    2013-3-1

    I wait it every year, but this year it came with surprises for me, because it came before its time and it included many opportunities and discounts that may reach 70%. This increased our happiness and I may lose much money, because I saved a lot. Anyway, the important thing is that the sale came and I intend to go shopping at the end of this month as I wish because the offers and discounts would be so many at this period and there are many of the surprises that are announced at the showcases that fascinate us. The important thing is that the shops must comply with the announced prices, which are known to all people and avoid the tricks of the merchants, who raise the original prices of the good and then pretend that there is a discount when they sell them at their original high prices. If this happened, we will leave these markets immediately because we search for credibility and transparency that we have lost, even with the governments of Egypt.

  • جميلة العدان

    2013-2-27

    The Egyptian markets are refreshed with winter sales. The Egyptian people are still attracted to these sales, despite the economic problems that they are experiencing. This is also a great step, because Egyptians wait for these discounts on Egyptian products, because we all know the situations of the Egyptians. The Egyptian employee's salary now is insufficient. It is clear that Egyptians have not lived to the fullest. There should be more work done to promote these sales, because unfortunately these offers and discounts were not widespread, so they are not very popular among all Egyptians; the sales are limited to a certain group of people. Unfortunately again, there are governorates that have not comprehended the idea of sales. Giza and Cairo are the two governorates that have gotten a lot of attention with these sales. Given the fact that imports have stopped, due to what the people in Port Said have done, and because the free market has been closed, this will cause the Egyptians to be attracted to these sales, so they can buy lots of products, as long as there are no imports.

  • كاظم خلف

    2013-2-27

    This sale is a great opportunity that we wait for every year, to buy all kinds of clothes as well as accessories. Since I love to shop, I wish that this sale were on all year long, because the greed of the merchants all year makes them compete during the sale so that they can give the Egyptian consumer better products for cheaper prices at a certain time. In the last few days we've come across great offers by huge malls such as Carefour. It gave us many sales during the previous year, but honestly, it won't be as good as the sales that are offered by these stores, especially in the mid-city area and Al Muhandeseen. I like to buy classic winter clothes; even if I won't be using them this year, I can use them during the coming years, especially since they're classic clothes that are always in style, and we can't say that it's a trend that will pass. I hope that this sale has the biggest number of products, even if it includes electrical devices, so we can replace them in our homes. Companies should use these shops and their sales and the fact that a lot of people visit them and display their own products, and that will definitely be good advertising. It will also be good for us so we can buy their products. Really, it can be a great chance for everyone, for everything that is on sale now will be displayed at its expensive price later on. Since money has no value, we have to buy things that are better than money, for maybe in the coming period these products will become even more expensive, due to the change in currencies and the increase in the costs of raw materials; no one knows what will happen tomorrow.

  • نصر الدين محمد

    2013-2-26

    Indeed, the prices are good, but there is recession. You can find sales, but the problem is with the people because of the demonstrations and the conditions of the state makes the people even unwilling t leave their houses and if they did, they rarely go for shopping, and the movement in the market is not as usual because the security situation is fragile. The families are also keen on not spending all the money they have because even the officials today do not guarantee their salaries, because there are rumors that by April, we will use up all the financial reserves in the central bank. Therefore, how will people receive their salaries? Certainly, the merchants are aware of this and thus they try to promote their goods because we do not know what will happen tomorrow. The government lies about many things, and thus we do not trust its statements seriously and we ask God to help us. I wish that the problem in Egypt would be solved by a sale or so. The real problem is that the people want to live in peace as they were used to in the past. What is the point of having money without having security? This is a disaster and the state must do anything to solve this issue. If the state is unable, then we must stop this state of denial and assign things to the professionals. Let the people make a living peacefully and we ask God to help the owners of the shops, who try to make anything to create movement in the market. They suffered losses and such movements are attempts to attract the people to buy from their shops. May God compensate them? There are no customers who have money and the people do not have money at all to buy in a sale or not.

  • كاريمان كرم

    2013-2-26

    I expect it year after year, but this year it came with surprise because it brought plenty of pleasant surprises; first it came before time, second it came with big discounts that reach 70% which makes our joy increase, and a lot of my savings will be spent; but it is alright, this year's sale came and I plan to go by the end of this month to shop as I please and from any shop, because the offers are too many and at more than one shop. There are many surprises declared on shops' windows, and they amaze us because they abide by the prices they set, and all prices are exposed in front of people, and there are no cheating or tricks done by merchants because some merchants say that there are discounts whereas they increase the price, then they cut the value that they want to deduct and at the end we find that the goods are still at the same high price! Therefore we will say farewell to these markets because we want credibility and transparency which we miss even with the successive governments of Egypt.

  • عبد الرحمن الشهرى

    2013-2-25

    I wish the Egyptian people a happy new year. In fact, it is the end of the winter season. There are many open shops in all the governorates of Egypt which started the winter sale. The sale could boost the national economy. Obviously, the sales encourage the consumers to buy more and more goods. Thus, the businesses would recover in this period. The Egyptian people could not afford for their basic needs in view of the severe economic crisis. The national economy is not expected to recover overnight. No matter how hard the Egyptian employee works, he will never be able to change these conditions. That is because, the Egyptian people, particularly the employees are obliged to get extra part time jobs to cover the family needs such as school fees and household goods. Thus, they could not afford for the winter clothes. The limited income could hardly cover the necessary expenses. For this reason, they depend on the winter sale to buy new garments. The employees in particular were waiting for the sale. Thus, the sale represents a good opportunity for the ordinary Egyptian families to buy clothes.

  • فهد مصعب

    2013-2-25

    At last, the winter sale started. The Egyptians suffer because of the crises that besiege them. The merchants must have understood that they would not have made profits without selling more during the winter. I am happy because the sale started these days in Egypt because everything is very expensive around us. We are supposed to boycott all merchants and refuse to listen to them when they claim that their goods are imported and that they will not be available again. However, I assure them that they will not make profits without the sales to encourage the people to go for shopping and buy at good prices. We hope that all the good would be affordable by all Egyptian classes. The Egyptians have suffered enough because of the endless crises that they have been facing. Hence, the parent do not even have the money to afford the basic needs, let alone the complementary goods that re being sold at very high prices. We must realize that the simple Egyptian citizen does not need anything from this world other than providing for his house expenses like electricity, water, rent, and if anything is left then it goes for food and his children. However, this is not possible because the crisis is very big and all what we demand from the Egyptian government is to provide employment opportunities to the youth to be able to cover the expenditures of the family. The sale season will never make all the Egyptian families meet their needs as to the clothes and other things because the income cannot cover the house, food and water. As Egyptians, we need help to be able top live like all the people around the world.

  • احمد سويدان

    2013-2-24

    Unfortunately, this will not refresh anything because the people do not have money at all during this sale. If this had been the case, the people would have bought goods. However, the merchants know the people’s conditions well and thus this is the cause that the discounts reached about 70%. We ask God to help us in Egypt because the people in Egypt cannot even find food or drink. Hence, they will not spend money on anything else like clothes, especially in this difficult period under the rule of Hajj Mursi, may God bless him. Since the eruption of the revolution, many people who had a job lost it and those who had any business lost it. We have even said that after the advent of the president, the situation will calm down, but his decisions caused unrest and affected everything and caused tensions. As long as there is no stability in Egypt then nothing will be normal and the sales will not help. We ask God to help us all because actually we do not understand anything.

  • راشد معاذ

    2013-2-23

    I do not think that the winter sale is a sale at all. Probably, the purpose of this sale is to convince the customers to go and buy without any difference in the prices, and if any it would be very simple and intangible. Because the Egyptian people have understood the game very well. Hence, no matter what happened, the merchants will exploit the Egyptian customer and try to deceive him to go out and buy their goods. However, they never find what they want. The problem is that the economic crisis hit Egypt and we all try to find anything through which we can trade. However, I think that we should not deceive the poor people and them superchip them by making no discount at all. Probably, the customer might have bought the sale’s goods at a lower price before that after negotiating with the seller. In addition, these sales are not in all governorates, simply because there is recession and you can watch the shops filled with the goods and the sellers just sit enjoying the sunrays without any work. The problem now is that their capitals are their goods and some of them can expire such as foods. Hence, the recession or bad storage can affect them. Hence, there must be a solution to this problem and I think that the merchants must not raise the prices because this will make the customers go away without buying. Hence, if the merchants modified their prices to suit more people, their income will increase and the conditions will improve rather than living in the current bad conditions they do.