The Dubai Shopping Festival 2009 has evoked a mixed reaction from retailers and hoteliers with sales and revenues for some having dropped by 10 per cent while others recording an increase.
This year's shopping extravagance, unlike previous years, was held amid the general economic gloom. According to industry sources, consumer confidence levels hit a low this year, as many projects have been put on ice and an unprecedented number of people have lost jobs.
"It is tough to compare this year's DSF with the previous years'," a DSF official told Emirates Business. "You have to compare this year's with sales and footfalls two months prior to the festival and one month after it. The idea was to create an impact, and that it achieved."
"However, there has been mixed reaction from malls. While some reported an increase of 40 per cent in sales, others said there is a 10-per cent decline," said the DSF official.
DSF Office said recently that this year's festival would aim to maintain the momentum of DSF 2008, which attracted 3.2 million visitors and revenues worth Dh10bn. "We don't have any expectations for this year's edition, but we aim to maintain the DSF 2008 momentum," a DSF official had said.
V Nandakumar, Corporate Communications Manager, Lulu Hypermarket, said there was a 10 to 15 per cent increase in sales of electronics and IT products this DSF. "That is because the manufacturers had reduced the prices," he said.
He added there was a 15-per cent increase in footfalls with an average of about 14,000 people visiting Lulu Hypermarket per day.
Commenting on the discounts, a manager at a shopping mall said more units had to be sold to achieve the same volumes as last year.
On the other hand, many hotels launched campaigns and offered discounts of up to 60 per cent to attract customers. Deeksha Trivedi, Director of Sales and Marketing, Sheraton Dubai Creek & Towers said: "Occupancy picked up during the first week of February and we saw a rush of last minute visitors from the leisure segment. There was an increase of 15 per cent in occupancy."
Hussein Hachem, General Manager, Al Murooj Rotana said: "During the DSF we had a special weekend rate for rooms with a discount up to 60 per cent and up to 20 per cent in our top restaurants. Overall the DSF had a rather good effect as we witnessed a 10-per cent increase in hotel occupancy."