WHILE the Great Singapore Sale (GSS) is great news for most, it has always been seen as a sale for mid-price and high street labels rather than luxury.
Your hopes of getting markdowns on Prada, Miu Miu, Donna Karan or Dries Van Noten won't come true at the start of GSS, for instance, as these top-of-the-line international brands don't participate in the event organised by the Singapore Retailers Association, but tend instead to follow their own retail calendar.
This year, however, Club 21 enters the GSS fray by offering tourists an extra 7 per cent rebate on top of their tax refund when they spend above $2,500 on a single receipt.
'The Singapore Tourism Board is glad that Club 21 is recognising visitors as one of their valued target segments,' says Andrew Phua, director of cluster development, tourism shopping and dining at STB.
Adds a Club 21 spokeswoman: 'We're giving this special incentive to visitors who come to shop at our luxury line boutiques so they know Singapore has much to offer as a fashion capital.'
The brands that will participate in the offer are mostly boutiques in Hilton Hotel and Four Seasons Hotel, namely Balenciaga, Donna Karan, Dolce & Gabbana, Dries Van Noten, Issey Miyake, Jil Sander, Mulberry, Paul Smith and Pomellato.
Over at Forum the Shopping Mall, brands offering the rebate will be MaxMara and Marina Rinaldi.
Club 21's multi-label stores, which carry labels like Comme des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto, Alexander McQueen, Dior Homme, Raf Simons and many others, will also offer the rebate.
The extra rebate will be given only during the GSS period, from May 23 to July 20, and upon presentation of a valid foreign passport.
The extra rebate is tantamount to a discount, one can say, especially when it's not difficult to get friends in the region to fly over to take advantage of this rare offer.
As for other branded labels, Karen Millen will give an additional 5 per cent discount to Tourist Privilege cardholders. 'Our end-of-season sale usually coincides with GSS and we're offering additional discounts to tourists because we do see a 20 percentage point increase in tourist traffic to the Karen Millen store during GSS and December periods,' says Lee Mei Li, general manager for Karen Millen, Wing Tai Clothing.
Other labels participating in the Tourist Privilege scheme are Ben Sherman, Maxstudio.com, and Miss Selfridge.
Meanwhile, for tourists and locals alike, luxury brands such as Shanghai Tang will hold end-of-season sales at the end of June, as per their usual practice. Prada and Miu Miu will see markdowns starting from early June onwards - not so much 'in conjunction with' GSS but in tandem with its own global calendar.