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Shopping malls open across Yemen ahead of Ramadan


Several new shopping centers have opened across Yemen in recent months, giving shoppers fresh options ahead of the holy month of Ramadan. 

In al-Hodeidah province, vice-governor Hassan Taher officially opened the one billion riyal ($4.7 million) King Mall on June 5th.

In Ibb province, the 500 million riyal ($2.3 million) Ibb Shopping Centre was inaugurated by local council secretary general Amin al-Warafi in late May.

The Mall of Arabia opened in Sanaa in early May, and al-Majd Commercial Centre opened in Saada in March.

"The opening of our mall increases competition, which is good for consumers and also creates job opportunities for young people, especially with the advent of the month of Ramadan," Mall of Arabia executive director Ahmed Awas told Al-Shorfa.

"The opening of these new centres before Ramadan is normal because commercial activity during Ramadan and the months that follow it, until Eid al-Adha, is highest compared to the rest of the year," said Ministry of Industry and Trade undersecretary Abdullah Abdul Wali Numan.

The opening of new centres supports the ministry’s policy of encouraging competition and preventing monopolies, he said, in addition to increasing the selection of products and driving down prices.

"The problem is not the supply of products or the size of the shopping space, but in the purchasing power of Yemeni citizens, due to the circumstances in the country," he added.

Shopping centres should co-ordinate with the ministry before announcing special offers, he said, noting that the ministry protects consumers by verifying these offers as some have turned out to be fraudulent.

Yemeni consumers generally gravitate towards new shopping centres particularly ones that offer gifts and discounts, and cater to the needs of the whole family in one place, Research Centre for Economic and Social Development head Marzouk Abdul Wadud told Al-Shorfa.

"Demand for food products is highest before and during Ramadan, in addition to demand for clothing and accessories, which rise during the month of Ramadan until Eid al-Adha, which makes these months the biggest commercial season," he said.

Shopping malls compete during this season by holding contests and distributing gifts to consumers, he said, which "increases demand despite the low purchasing power of Yemeni citizens in general caused by the economic recession".

Abdul Wadud warned shopping centres not to exploit shoppers by selling products that are close to their expiration date, and called on Ministry of Industry and Trade regulators to intensify monitoring to prevent these practices.

By Al-Shorfa

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