Some hypermarkets in Dubai hiked prices of essential foods prior to Ramadan and have been reported to the Ministry of Economy.
The Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection (CCCP) Division in the Department of Economic Development (DED) made the discovery during inspections in the run-up to the holy month.
Omar Bushahab, CEO of the CCCP, said that DED had noticed price increases varying from two percent to 50 percent on items such as flour, cooking oil, sugar, fruits, vegetables, poultry, lamb and veal.
He did not name the offending hypermarkets in the statement but said they were "prominent" in the retail sector.
"The Department of Economic Development has sent a letter to the Ministry of Economy requesting appropriate action on such price increases as it falls under the Ministry's mandate," he added.
He said the move was part of the CCCP's efforts to "ensure that consumers in Dubai continue to get all essential foodstuffs at fair prices".
"Monitoring consumer prices is an integral part of our efforts to protect consumer rights and maintain harmonious relations between traders and consumers in Dubai. We work closely with retail outlets and also take necessary action on consumer complaints," Bushahab added.
Visits conducted by CCCP inspectors to hypermarkets revealed a 2-8 percent in prices of frozen poultry, lamb and veal while fish prices had gone up by 12 per cent.
Sugar prices showed a 39 percent increase and fruits and vegetables had become costlier by 50 percent in some of these outlets.
"There were also retail outlets that showed remarkable social responsibility by reducing or locking the prices of essential foodstuff. These outlets had in fact reduced prices of items like fresh chicken, frozen chicken, lamb and flour by up to 77 percent," said Bushahab.