Anyone who claims that they can’t find bargain shopping in Cairo is delusional. First of all, we Egyptians love a good bargain; we may not have created the concept of sales and discounts, but we very well could have. Just take a look at any discount store around the world (Primark, Dollar Store, Forever 21), and you may find several of us arguing loudly over the Sale of the Day rack.
Back here in Cairo , we have several bargain-friendly markets to choose from, whether it’s the flea market at Wekalet El Balah every Sunday or the Friday market near the City of the Dead. These markets are refreshing alternatives to the tourist hub of Khan El Khalili market, which is fun but not necessarily cheap, even for expert bargainers.
Aside from the markets, several retail outlet and export reject stores are spread out around the Capital. It’s a well-known secret that select clothing for many international brands such as GAP, Banana Republic, Tommy Hilfiger and Polo Ralf Lauren are manufactured in Egypt . Usually inconspicuous holes in the walls, these stores basically sell items that have been rejected due to minor faults in stitching, printing, etc. Prices range from 5LE for tank tops all the way to 90LE for jeans.
Located in Zamalek on Mansour Mohamed Street , Fostok has been the guilty shopping secret of many posh Zamalek residents over the years. Offering lightweight cotton trousers, Polo Ralph Loren polo shirts, funky print cotton t-shirts and jeans for 100LE as well as colourful maxi dresses, Fostok is a great source for summer clothing or sportswear that won’t leave a dent in your pocket. Next door is Matchbox, which offers lesser-known brands of just as affordable clothing. Most items retail for under 100LE, including brightly coloured lycra-cotton cardigans, long and short cotton skirts and lightweight leggings in several colours for around 60LE.
While Mohandiseen has a few tiny outlet stores (keep your eyes peeled for the 9LE store on Shehab Street ), Maadi has a respectable selection of shops, including Nile Stock Outlet on Road 231 next to Vittorio’s, a two-level store with a respectable selection of sweaters in the winter and a few Adidas clothing items. Outlet on El Laselky Street in New Maadi has a great collection of affordable and well-fitting jeans that has attracted several bargain shoppers from all over town. Aside from the typical track trousers and tank top selection, the store also has a regular collection of cartoon t-shirts for men and children, including faded Loony Tunes t-shirts for around 70LE. It also carries some cute bibs and baby clothing at very reasonable prices.
For more upmarket outlet options, check out Red Tags in Fifth Settlement (stay tuned to Cairo 360 for our upcoming review), and Designers on Sale by Beymen in Heliopolis . Both stores offer mid- to high-range labels from Guess to Gucci at considerably reduced but still high prices. If you’re looking for discount quality running shoes, swimsuits and tennis shorts, the Adidas Outlet Store has various branches, notably on the Maadi Corniche and next to Carrefour Maadi, and is located next to the Reebok and Timberland outlets.
And last but not least, never underestimate cheap clothing stores like Sxy and Fabulous, which make extremely affordable women’s wear in a relaxed cotton and Lycra-mix. Before you turn your nose up at Fabulous’ rather uncool and unhip appearance; take the time to browse through its racks: other the years, we’ve found several amazing bargains like flowing knee-length black skirts, wraparound cardigans, leggings in a multitude of colours, soft woollen sweaters and light t-shirts. Most items fall under 100LE, while their maxi dresses or long cardigans may reach 120LE. With branches all over Cairo , this shop is a dependable source of light and summery clothing.
So when you feel the bargain itch coming on, remember that there’s no need to wait for Zara and H&M’s next seasonal sales. These stores and markets have year-round discounts and bargains to delight your shopping addiction, fill your closet and still leave you with enough money to eat till the end of the month.