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Women in the UAE and other Gulf nations are increasingly turning to online shops for when they seek luxury brands and personal products.

Launched on March 9, Fashionation.me is based at Dubai International Financial Centre. Only registered members can shop using the website and so far almost 5,000 people have signed up from across the GCC.

The site operates on a first come first served basis and the brands on offer, with up to 70 per cent off the retail price, vary every week, according to Gulf News.

The store’s marketing manager, Sa’ad Bhatti, was quoted as saying the online store has had tremendous impact already. Around 40% of its members are from the UAE with the rest from other GCC countries, mainly Saudi Arabia. Membership is limited: through direct invitation by Fashionation.me, sponsorship by a member or a visa application to allow a visit to the site.

Online shopping for lingerie has proven particularly popular in Saudi Arabia where women don’t buy from shops because they have male shop attendants, the report says.

Sukur.com, another online store, will launch at the beginning of April and targeted at the image-conscious shopper.

An interesting alternative to buying online is borrowing online and that is what www.toujourschic.ae does. For just Dh260 you can have a designer bag to show off for two days. It’s a popular way of flaunting exclusive brands, but at a fraction of the cost.

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