DUBAI: In the midst of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, a Dubai fashion retailer has reported a surge in sales after it launched a special fleet of buses fitted out to resemble one of their stores, which can drive directly to customers and offer an alternative to online shopping.
Telal Gents Fashion converted a fleet of buses, containing a selection of their products similar to what is available online and in their stores. Customers can order a shopping session and the bus will drive directly to them.
“We noticed a 30 percent dip in customer footfall during the pandemic due to lockdown restrictions and a reluctance from people to go outside for non-essential goods,” said Hassan Thurabi, a director at Telal.
“We had to find a solution to the situation fast, so we invented a platform to support the new needs of our customers and brought our services to our customers’ doorsteps at the click of a button. (It) is one of the company’s most successful projects, boosting our sales by over 50 percent as well as enhancing our customer satisfaction and experience,” he added.
The company confirmed to Arab News that the 50 percent surge was year-on-year sales in 2020, compared to 2019.
Founded in 1987 by the Telal family, the company currently has 32 outlets throughout the Middle East and its own footwear factory in Italy. The bus campaign, which kicked off on Feb. 10, 2020, also saw the company awarded a Guinness World Record for the Largest Mobile Clothing Store.
One bus is currently operational, one more is being fitted out and the company has ordered two more from Mercedes Benz.
Dubai retailers were hit hard by the pandemic, as access was restricted and customers stuck at home turned to online shopping. Majid Al-Futtaim, one of the largest mall operators, with 27 shopping malls across five countries, reported a 7 percent year-on-year fall in revenues to AED 32.6 billion ($8.88 billion) in 2020, resulting in a net loss of AED 2.7 billion, compared to a loss of AED 1.9 billion in 2019.
However, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce in March reported that retail sales in the UAE are expected to rebound and grow by 13 percent to reach $58 billion by the end of 2021. The analysis, based on recent data by research company Euromonitor, also predicted that UAE retail sales are forecast to a maintain 6.6 percent annual growth of $70.5 billion by 2025.