DSF 2018 builds momentum for business

RetailME Bureau

The 23rd edition of the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) – running from December 26-January 27 – will draw to a close this weekend. Key economic sectors partaking in DSF have reported improved performance in the first half of the festival, creating the perfect momentum for businesses in Dubai at the beginning of the year.

Malls and retail outlets in Dubai have registered an increase in sales and footfall during the first half of DSF, while other sectors such as airlines and financial services are also seeing an upswing in business during DSF, which is organised by the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism).

“We are pleased with the initial feedback that we have received from our stakeholders on the impact of DSF on their businesses. Indeed, these positive economic indicators for the first half of DSF augur well for the remaining period of the festival. This goes to prove how crucial DSF is to Dubai’s retail and ancillary sectors and is further evidence of Dubai’s position as a leading retail destination offering unique shopping experiences. That the festival has already achieved a great measure of success at its halfway stage is also testimony to the spirit of collaboration and support extended to DFRE by our key partners and other government departments and private sector establishments,” states Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO, DFRE

For DSF 2018, DFRE’s strategic partners include Emirates, The Dubai Mall, Majid Al Futtaim Properties, AW Rostamani Group, Al-Futtaim’s Dubai Festival City, Nakheel Malls – Ibn Battuta Mall, Dragon Mart 1, Dragon Mart 2 – Dubai Duty Free, ENOC, Al Zarooni Group’s Mercato, Meraas and Etisalat. The key sponsors of DSF 2018 are Visa, Emirates NBD and Jumbo Group, while key trade entities that support DSF are Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group and Dubai Shopping Malls Group.

Like every year, retail businesses received a boost from DSF 2018. The participating shopping malls registered 10% increase in footfall.

Commenting on the DSF 2018 impact on Dubai Festival City Mall, Steven Cleaver, director – shopping malls, Al Futtaim Group Real Estate, shares, “Dubai Shopping Festival 2018 has been one of the most successful to date at Dubai Festival City Mall, as we have seen a 10% year-on- year increase in footfall. In support of Dubai Tourism’s initiative, each year we look to bring something even better and more exciting for our visitors to give them a unique experience. With the first ever Paddington World, our new Festival Wheel at Festival Bay, special Star Wars IMAGINE shows every night, combined with offers from 400 participating retailers as well as the chance to win our grand prize, a 2018 Jeep Cherokee and weekly iPhone Xs, we have had a hugely positive response.”

The participating Nakheel malls have also recorded visitor numbers rise by almost 10% as well. Omar Khoory, managing director of Nakheel Malls, says, “We have witnessed a very successful Dubai Shopping Festival 2018 so far. Our unique offerings and promotions at Ibn Battuta Mall and Dragon Mart have boosted visitor numbers by nearly 10% compared to last year, and we expect this to continue as we head into the last phase of the festival. DSF continues to retain its allure as the No. 1 event on Dubai’s annual retail calendar. We are proud to be a part of it and contribute to enhancing the retail landscape of Dubai.”

“We have witnessed robust increases in visitation during the first two weeks of DSF as a result of our signature events, unique prizes and the vast shopping options each mall has to offer. The 23rd edition of DSF has been a resounding success for Majid Al Futtaim’s six shopping malls in Dubai: Mall of the Emirates, City Centres Deira, Mirdif, Me’aisem, Al Shindagha and My City Centre Al Barsha, with positive feedback from our retail partners and customers. We look forward to creating more great moments for our guests over the coming weeks as we continue to host stand-out entertainment and promotions,” adds Fuad Mansoor Sharaf, managing director, Majid Al Futtaim Properties – shopping malls (UAE, Bahrain & Oman).

Along with the super-regional malls, the community and neighbourhood malls also benefitted from DSF. “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 10% increase in the mall’s footfall during the first half of DSF 2018. As Dubai Shopping Festival is an important part of Dubai’s tourism strategy, Mercato is proud to be a strategic partner of Dubai Festivals & Retail Establishment to promote Dubai as one of the leading tourist destinations in the world,” states Nisreen Boustani, PR & corporate communications manager of Mercato and Town Centre Jumeirah.

Consumer electronics and gold and jewellery categories also saw busy cash tills. Both categories benefitted from the first, pre-VAT, week of DSF.

“As DSF commenced a week prior to the implementation of VAT, it resulted in a flurry of excitement among shoppers who were eager to purchase products at attractive prices. This created a tremendously positive sales period for us at Jumbo. We witnessed shoppers making major purchases and taking advantage of our special promotions and value-add bundles that contributed to a 40% increase in sales as compared to the same period last year. The best-selling products that contributed to the sales were iPhone X; Samsung Note 8; Samsung S8 and S8 Plus; premium laptops of HP, Lenovo and Dell; Sony 4K and Samsung QLED TVs; Sony A7RIII mirrorless camera; and PlayStation PRO among others,” reveals Nadeem Khanzadah, head, omnichannel retail, Jumbo Group.

“We are thrilled to see the overwhelming sale in the first two weeks of the festival; we have seen very good footfall during the first week of the Dubai Shopping Festival in the past, however, this year, the pre-VAT, Christmas & New Year sales seemed to have exceeded all expectations. Most certainly, consumers were moved by the favourable gold price and the mega winning opportunities that are offered by the Dubai Gold & Jewellery Group this DSF. We believe the participating stores would mark impressive sales for the remaining period of DSF as well. The gold price is at affordable levels and Dubai is certainly the best place to buy your favorite jewellery, and there is no better time than DSF to do so,” adds Tawhid Abdullah, chairman, Dubai Gold & Jewellery Group.

Overall, DSF once again managed to attract traffic into Dubai with Emirates recording considerable increase in traffic. According to Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, divisional senior vice president commercial operations centre at Emirates shared that the airline saw a steady stream of visitors from the UK, the US, France, Spain, Australia, Russia, the Netherlands and Pakistan. There was a surge in visitors from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt. As many visitors travel through Dubai International Airport and Al Maktoum International during DSF, they tend to shop first at Dubai Duty Free that boosted the airport retailer’s business.

One of the DSF 2018 key sponsors Visa saw 27% year-on-year growth. “As we near the close of this year’s festival, we see a 27% year-on-year growth in payment volume with DSF-participating merchants compared to 16% for the rest of the market. This upswing in activity demonstrates our efforts to offer valuable experiences for shoppers and drive innovation across the payments landscape whilst positioning Dubai as a world-class shopping destination,” says Karim Beg, head of marketing, MENA – Visa.

“In its 23rd edition, the Dubai Shopping Festival has maintained its positive impact on the economy. Half way through the campaign we have witnessed a significant increase in customer engagement as compared to the previous editions. We are confident that we will be able to grow this engagement further as the second half continues with more exciting deals and value added promotions. Being able to achieve these results reflects consumer willingness to spend in current market conditions, provided that they are offered great value in their purchases,” concludes Majid Al Ghurair, chairman of Dubai Shopping Malls Group.

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