(MENAFN Press) Key economic sectors of Dubai have shown significant growth in the first two weeks of the 19th edition of Dubai Shopping Festival with retailers reporting brisk business at over 70 participating malls and more than 6,000 shops. Hotels in the city have recorded high occupancy levels while the festival has also given a boost to airlines and key ancillary services like car rentals and exchange houses since it got underway on 2 January.
Making an impact in the first half of DSF was the festival's brand new initiative, "Shop And Win", a promotion covering mid-sized shopping malls and community shopping centres across the city. During a 2-week period , the promotion achieved cumulative sales of AED 400million. In further evidence of the strong showing by the retail sector, the Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group said that its outlets participating in the Gold Raffle have recorded 35-40% sales at the midway stage of DSF.
Shopping malls have been abuzz since the start of DSF, as discounted shopping and festive feasting at the food courts and restaurants attracted large numbers of people of all age groups and nationalities. Visitors from around the world have been availing themselves of discounts of up to 75 % on a wide range of merchandise at malls and souks including electronics, home appliances, computers, perfumes, cosmetics and fashion. Tourists have also been flocking to exchange dealers to take advantage of the best rates that are being offered by these centres, while car rental companies are heavily booked during DSF.
DSF 2014 will continue until 2 February under the theme "Shop at Your Best" aimed at offering unique shopping experiences through over 150 events and activities that are being held across the city. DSF is organized by the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM.
H.E. Helal Saeed Almarri, Director-General, DTCM, said: "The positive economic indicators that have emerged from the first two weeks of this year's Dubai Shopping Festival augur well for the remaining period of the festival and are both a demonstration of the contribution retail makes to the Dubai economy and evidence of Dubai's stature as a shopping destination. These results also endorse the strategy of the Dubai Government to leverage the retail and events sectors as key drivers of tourism growth, with Dubai Shopping Festival providing a range of unique shopping experiences which enhance the Emirate's destination offering. "
H.E. Laila Mohammed Suhail, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), said: "We are very pleased with the initial feedback that we are receiving from our stakeholders and from various vital economic sectors in Dubai about the impact of DSF 2014 in its first 2 weeks. This just goes to prove how focal DSF is as an international event when it comes to attracting tourists and energizing the economy in the emirate. We all know that Dubai is an attractive destination during the winter season, where DSF adds value by prolonging the visitors stay and spend due to the diversified offerings of events and attractive promotions across the city. Without a doubt, the positive interaction from the our partners and stake holders in the private sector with DSF has enhanced the festive ambience of Dubai, for wherever our visitors and shoppers go they will find DSF branded bags and exciting promotions, in addition to organizing their own events and raffle draws, and this is what we always mean in saying that DSF is a citywide festival".
"Dubai could not have had a better platform to start DSF after hosting the world's biggest fireworks display. This, coupled with Dubai's new-found status as the Expo host city for 2020, meant DSF 2014 was always going to be particularly special. It has certainly turned out to be, and even at this half way stage, we have seen tremendous support for the festival and all the associated activities. Emirates, as a DSF Strategic Partner, has once again played an important role, making sure our passengers visiting Dubai have the very best experience, both in the air and on the ground," said Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Divisional Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Emirates Airline.
A W Rostamani Group
Michel Ayat, CEO, Arabian Automobiles, Flagship Company of AW Rostamani Group, the exclusive dealer for Nissan, Infiniti and Renault in Dubai and the Northern Emirates said: "Arabian Automobiles has a tradition of lining up the best of offers during Dubai Shopping Festival each year and is once again pleased to support this extravaganza as a strategic partner as we have since its inception. Our year on year participation with Dubai Festival and Retail Establishment reflects our strong commitment to Dubai's vision and we will continue in providing the best of our traditional hospitality with our finest products and services to our customers. We thank the Dubai Festival and Retail Establishment (DFRE) for its continued efforts and look forward to another successful year with them.
"Moving into 2014, our current DSF offer gives our customers the opportunity to buy our popular Nissan models and luxurious Infiniti models with a combination of great incentives. DSF has been a perfect platform and launching pad for our sales this year as we continue to build on our growth momentum from 2013. We have already recorded a significant 50% increase in retail sales compared with that of last year and anticipate an increasing response over the coming days as people become increasingly aware of our offering."
The Dubai Mall
Nasser Rafi, Chief Executive Officer, Emaar Malls Group, said: "The Dubai Mall has been working closely with the Dubai Festivals & Retail Establishment for DSF 2014, underlining the mall's commitment to partner with initiatives that boost Dubai's retail and tourism sectors. Showcasing an unparalleled line-up of events, the mall provides an unmatched lifestyle experience for our visitors, both UAE residents and tourists from around the world. We expect to achieve a significant growth in visitor arrivals to the mall this DSF 2014, with the event being regarded as a must-visit attraction globally.
Majid Al Futtaim Properties
"Dubai Shopping Festival is always a great success for Majid Al Futtaim Properties, and this year we are pleased to embrace the 'Shop at Your Best' theme by offering shoppers even more exciting promotions and family entertainment. Across Deira City Centre, Mall of the Emirates and Mirdif City Centre we have witnessed a double-digit increase in footfall during the first half of DSF, demonstrating the tremendous value the festival adds to Dubai's economic and tourism aims," said Fuad Mansoor Sharaf, Senior Director “ Property Management, Shopping Malls for Majid Al Futtaim Properties. "I would like to congratulate the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment and the Dubai government on a successful start to the 19th annual DSF as we look towards continued success through the remainder of the festival."
Dubai Duty Free
"The Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), which attracts so many visitors to Dubai during the beginning of the year, plays an important role in driving the retail sector across the board. As many visitors travel through the Dubai International Airport and Al Maktoum International during DSF, many visitors shop first at Dubai Duty Free before heading out of or into the city. Dubai Duty Free operates in a competitive retail environment, offering the best products at the best prices and, in addition, provides an excellent level of customer service. The retail sector's great deals during DSF have definitely generated a positive response from tourists all over", said Salah Tahlak, Senior Vice President “ Corporate Communications, Dubai Duty Free.
Burhan Al Hashemi, Managing Director “ Retail of ENOC, said: ""Customer response to our promotions during first two weeks of DSF 2014 has been overwhelming, with sales of our various DSF promotional packages exceeding our target. In fact, our promotion that enables one lucky customer to win a Nissan car daily and the daily draw to win an Infiniti car have both gained tremendous response from the public. We have handed out more than 1 million raffle coupons for the Nissan daily draw already, while the draw for the Infiniti car is sold out on a daily basis. With Dubai's economy gaining solid growth and the city underlining its reputation as a must-visit tourist destination, DSF 2014 has further energised the economy, as highlighted by the increased customer response to our promotions this year.".
Al Futtaim Group “ Dubai Festival City Mall
David Robinson, Regional General Manager “ Shopping Malls, Al-Futtaim Group Real Estate said: "This DSF, Dubai Festival City Mall attracted a substantially large amount of visitors from the UAE and GCC countries, while exceeding our expectations. During the festival's final weeks, residents and tourists will benefit from our amazing deals at participating mall outlets, while also enjoying a highly engaging calendar of events. The entertainment includes many activities showcasing the iconic Barbie TM, the highly popular Light and Water Show, fireworks that will light up the sky at Dubai Festival City every weekend, and a number of other exciting performances throughout the mall."
Eisa Adam, General Manager, BurJuman, said: "Two weeks into the month-long DSF extravaganza and we are very happy to say that the shopping festival is once again proving to be a great success for BurJuman. We have recorded a 30% increase in overall sales from last year, with figures based on participation in the popular DSF raffle running at our mall. With sales and promotions running in more than 50 stores, BurJuman is really embracing the 2014 DSF slogan of "Shop at Your Best" and so are all our visitors."
Meraas Holding - Citywalk
Fahad Kazim, Chief Commercial Officer of Meraas Holding, said: "Meraas is pleased to support this year's edition of the Dubai Shopping Festival as a Strategic Partner of the Dubai Festival and Retail Establishment. The much-awaited annual calendar of events has proven why DSF is considered one of the world's most famous shopping festivals.
"Dubai has retained its position as one of the top international retail destinations globally. The city was also ranked among the world's top five 'hot markets', and the emirate remains the highest ranked target market for new retailers. As a leading contributor to Dubai's success story, Meraas will continue to support events that sustain the emirate's status as a 21st century destination city."
Al Zarooni Group “ Mercato
"Mercato is thrilled to announce a very positive response during the first two weeks of this year's Dubai Shopping Festival.The wonderful array of global live entertainment shows and other in-mall promotions have certainly played a major role in attracting more tourists and local residents to benefit from the considerable price reductions across most stores in the mall.
We have noticed an increase in the mall's footfall as well as in sales during the first half of DSF 2014. We are enjoying a 27% increase in retail sales during the first two weeks of DSF 2014, compared to the same period last year during DSF 2013", commented Nisreen Boustani, PR and Corporate Communication Manager at Mercato & Town Centre Jumeirah.
"Dubai Shopping Festival is an important part of the tourism strategy and we are always proud to be a Strategic Partners of Dubai Festivals & Retail Establishment to promote Dubai as one of the leading tourist attractions and destinations in the world".
"DSF is always a very important and busy time of the year for Jumbo. This year, we lined up even more spectacular offers in the lead up to Jumbo's 40th anniversary - a major milestone for the brand. It is a very special year for us and we want to extend that celebratory spirit to our customers, who have been winning half a kilo of gold every week and gold coins every day, along with value added offers on all major categories. Recent high-profile announcements in Dubai have increased consumer confidence and we've witnessed at least 15 to 20 percent growth in sales year-on-year at DSF 2014 so far. The Expo 2020 win and the announcement by His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum to transform Dubai into a Smart City have provided a further boost to technology spending. Each year Jumbo's DSF offers are amongst the most eagerly anticipated deals and an indicator of consumer buying trends for the rest of the year. Jumbo estimates the sales growth in smartphones at about 10 percent in terms of value during 2014. For tablets, the sales growth is estimated at about 30 percent during 2014 and for Smart TVs, growth is expected to be about 10 percent", said Nadeem Khanzadah, Head - Retail, Jumbo Electronics.
Dubai Gold & Jewellery Group
"DTCM along with DFRE have been conducting numerous road shows through their international offices which has promoted inbound tourism commendably. This has certainly created a fine atmosphere for this year's shopping festival. Favorable pricing of gold and an extremely attractive winning proposition have been enhancing jewellery sales in Dubai. We are hoping to have a very fruitful campaign for the retail jewellers and offer the best shopping experience for tourist and residents this DSF", said Sunny Chittilappilly, Chairman, Dubai Gold & Jewellery Group.
Tomy Joseph, General Manager, Dubai Gold & Jewellery Group, said: "When we are halfway past the DSF campaign, our participating outlets have marked an average growth of 35-40% compared to their corresponding sales last year. There is a positive wave among the residents and expatriates in Dubai post the EXPO 2020 bid win, as all sectors of the economy are doing quite well. In order to celebrate the glorious bid win, we have launched EXPO 2020 Dubai, Host City special edition gold coins which is very well accepted by the residents and tourists of Dubai. We have sold approximately 10,000 coins so far. Retail jewellers are extremely enthusiastic about the festival, and participation from the trade has gone up by 45% compared to last year, which is an optimistic sign by itself".
Shop and Win
The brand new initiative of Dubai Shopping Festival -- 'Shop and Win' offering one lucky shopper the chance to win a cash prize of Dhs500,000 “ in participating community centres has got off to a great start with soaring footfalls resulting in cumulative sales from all the participating outlets touching the AED 400 million mark in the first two weeks of DSF. Shop owners and managers are confident that this figure would double during the remainder of the festival.
The 'Shop and Win' promotion, which has been designed to reach a sizeable number of Dubai's population, has been targeting communities well beyond Dubai's major malls “ in areas that have less than 100 shopping outlets. Against each spend of AED 200, the shopper earns a raffle coupon and automatic entry into a mega draw with the chance to win AED 500,000 in cash on the final day of the promotion.
Reactions coming in from community malls taking part in the promotion are overwhelmingly positive as also those from customers who have been ecstatic about being able to indulge in festive shopping sprees at shops in their immediate neighborhood.
Mr. Mahdy Alamin, from Times Square Centre, said: "Such interactions with the Dubai Shopping Festival has resulted in fantastic synergy. We look forward to such promotions so that we can offer additional benefits to the customers. This in turn will go a long way in earning their loyalty."
Ms. Rashmi Seth, from Century Mall located, has commented that sales have gone up, adding that the attractive winning opportunities and the discounts on offer hold the key. "We are privileged to be a part of this unique promotion that has resulted in our customers wearing smiles on their faces like never before."
Mrs. Sana Gul Muhammad, from Barsha Mall, asserts that the mall has been able to take full advantage of this promotion: "Thus far, we have experienced a manifold increase in footfall at the mall, especially from residents in and around this area, directly spurred by this attractive DSF promotion."
Carpet & Art Oasis
Direct sales and business deals at the Carpet & Art Oasis 2014, organised by Dubai Customs as part of DSF activities, reached over AED 30 million during the first two weeks of the exhibition, which started on the opening day of DSF on 2 January.
Abdul Rahman Issa, Chairman of the Carpet Oasis' Organizing Committee, said that the direct sales realized by the exhibitors amounted to over AED 19 million in the first two weeks while deals worth AED 11 million were sealed among exhibitors themselves and with local traders. He noted that 1930 handcrafted carpets were sold at the fair during the two week period.
Mr Issa explained that the sales value in the first two weeks of the Oasis rose by 25%, compared to the same period last year. "The exhibition is becoming increasingly popular this year, as the number of visitors that flocked to the Oasis in the two weeks alone approached 15,000," he said.
Against every rug purchase of over AED 1000, the visitors to Carpet Oasis earn a raffle coupon and automatic entry into Nissan mega draw with a chance to win one of Nissan's 12 car models every day. Moreover, the Oasis offers its visitors the opportunity to participate in the Oasis' exciting raffle draw to win a luxurious Iranian rug.
Hussain Salim, Managing Director of Red Castle Carpet Trading LLC, whose company has been a loyal participant in the Oasis for 11 years, said that the level of organization this year is at its best and hosing the exhibition at Dubai Festival City is considerably contributing to luring more visitors all week. Mr Salim reaffirmed his company's keenness to take part in the oasis every year, as it offers exceptional sales opportunities and the potential to strike the best deals in the industry.
"In line with the highly popular Dubai Shopping Festival, Madinat Jumeirah is happy to welcome visitors as they come to Dubai to participate in the annual shopping event. Madinat Jumeirah has noticed an increase in the number of tourists in the past two weeks, especially during the school vacations in different countries of the GCC region. The rise in the number of visitors reflects all that is buzzing in Dubai during DSF, in the form of tempting discounts at shopping malls and the exquisite privileges that guests can avail at the resort. We hope that this positive impact will continue all the way through the 32 days of the festival, enabling both residents and visitors to make the most of the wonderful DSF offerings," said Azar Saliba, Hotel Manager at Al Qasr and Dar Al Masyaf, Madinat Jumeirah.
Peter Foster, Sales & Marketing Manager, InterContinental Hotels Group, Dubai Festival City, said: "Since the DSF started, our hotels have witnessed a 10% increase in occupancy rates compared to last year. During the first half of the DSF, the occupancy rate went up to 85%. The influx of visitors is due to families, especially the ones from GCC, visiting Dubai to take advantage of the shopping offers and the line-up of family entertainment. DSF is strengthening Dubai's reputation as a first-class tourism destination.
All throughout the DSF, we are offering packages that include shopping vouchers that can be redeemed at the Dubai Festival City along with tempting discounts at the spas. At our restaurants too, we are participating in the Dubai Shopping Festival's DINE & WIN promotion, which combines the pleasure of discounted shopping with fun-filled activities and helps boost our operations, while enhancing the experience for all the patrons" .
Ossama Al Rahma, General Manager, Al Fardan Exchange, said: "Dubai welcomes an increasing number of visitors during the DSF season, making the emirate an important destination for every one. With DSF's international reputation, Dubai is no longer a regional destination but has transformed into a global tourism spot. This leads to a positive effect in terms of tourism, which further translates into an increased number of transactions in the currency exchange industry. With international tourists bringing in foreign currency into the UAE, the economy gets a boost and during the first two weeks of the DSF, we saw the number of operations in terms of money transactions, go up by 10-15% in comparison to last year. Additionally, the extended shopping hours at the mall also lead to an increase in footfall at the exchange centres located at the shopping malls, leading to an overall positive impact on the currency exchange industry".
Ayham Ibrahim, Director of operations from Arab Link, said: "The first 2 weeks of DSF has been great for our rent a car and Hotel apartment business. We are witnessing a solid growth during DSF 2014 of about 15% compared to last year. However, we are expecting this figure to highly increase in the second half of DSF due to the spring break in many of the GCC countries, in addition to the Chinese new year celebrations and the Arab Health Exhibition taking place in the last week of DSF"
Mohd Eisa, Business development Manager, German Rent a Car , a company specializing mainly in luxury cars, said: "DSF has always generated business growth for our company, and it's more so in DSF 2014 whereby we have witnessed 25% to 30% increase in our business in the past 2 weeks, especially with our fleet of luxury cars of BMW 5 series. We are anticipating more business towards the end of DSF to cover all our fleet of 3000 luxury cars, due to the fact that our main clients are from GCC followed by Europeans tourists".
Neil Munro, Hertz UAE, Marketing : "We always noticed an upsurge in business in January for two reasons. The first being because of the number of visitors attending Dubai Shopping Festival and the second because a lot of Western Expats return home over Christmas and New Year and leave their car at the airport, meaning they need to renew their rental on their return to the UAE.
"From a rental perspective, January is a very busy time of the year for Hertz. We see a lot of tourists from Western counties such as the United Kingdom, Australia, France, Spain, Germany coming to rent cars and visit the shopping festival. We have also seen an increase in Arab shoppers, particularly those from the GCC such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, who are choosing to rent from us."
"Dubai Shopping Festival has opened the year for us in a remarkable way, with shoppers flocking to the stores to avail the great offers and discounts. DSF is a great platform for both retailers and consumers alike. We have had very good sales in the first two weeks of the shopping festival across our retail outlets. Our offers form part of the great value that we give back to our customers. It is a great way to start the shopping season and we are certain the trend will continue throughout," said Mr. Abdul Gafoor, CEO, Moonway Group, a UAE-based manufacturer of household lighting gadgets and consumer electronics.