Shop owners at malls are urging authorities to lift the entry ban on single men on weekends because it is hurting their businesses. The ban was put in place to prevent harassment of families but it is now being perceived as an obstacle in the way of good sales especially during Ramadan — the best season to rake in profits.
Several malls in Jeddah have a number of stores selling male clothing but the ban on singles on weekends —the only free time for working males to shop — is making it irksome for male customers.
Saleh Abdul Muhsen, owner of a male clothing shop at a mall in Jeddah told Arab News that weekends are the ideal time for business. “But the ban on single men entering malls during weekends is causing huge losses and has triggered the shutting down of many men’s clothing stores,” he said.
He said that the shop owners could not afford the high rents and had to close their shops owing to a sharp decline in their businesses following the ban.
Adnan Al-Banowi, a marketing official of a mobile sales company said: “We have a large number of outlets in malls and preventing single men from entering these shops over the weekend has affected our sales badly. Therefore, the company is now focusing on women, who constitute more than 60 percent of our customers, while the company is earmarking more than SR500,000 to pay the annual rent.” He added: “We can earn sizable profits only if our products reach all sections of society, including young men and women.”
However, it was observed that some young men go to the malls not for shopping but to spend time with their friends at the mall cafes. Saad Al-Zahrani, a security guard at Red Sea Mall, told Arab News that most male customers did not come to shop. “What prompts these young men to keep away from the malls on weekdays?” he asked. Sharief Radwan, an employee of a shop at Flamengo Mall in Jeddah, said: “Most young men come to spend their free time in the cafes.
They prefer weekends to visit these cafes, and they have just as much right as anyone else to enter the malls any day they want to. The authorities should find other ways to prevent young men from annoying women customers.”