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Shop talk: Dubai's retail festival

By Staff Writer



Dubai’s reputation as a shopper’s paradise can only improve as overall indoor retail space is expected to increase up to 20 million square feet by 2010. In the next two years more malls will have been established, including Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping centre. The Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) has made a significant contribution to turning the Gulf into a top world attraction, said Eisa Adam Ibrahim, who also doubles as BurJuman’s general manager. He tells Emirates Business why he thinks the shopping festival is such a success.

Is DSF still the highlight of the year in Dubai and has it been able to maintain its competitive edge?

Absolutely. The fact DSF has completed 12 consecutive successful editions is by itself substantial proof of its accomplishment. Similar festivals have sprung up across the region but they haven’t been able to emulate our success.

What is the reason behind this success?
Firstly, there’s the robust partnership between the private and the public sectors. Their co-operation and unfailing support for this event serve the interests of all concerned. Also the big budget allocated to DSF and the entertainment and shopping activities introduced every year all help draw tourists to the event and to Dubai. Another reason for its success is the role played by the prizes and raffles offered by malls every year. Additionally, all governmental bodies concerned spare no effort in streamlining the entry procedures for tourists coming in to the emirate from all over the world. The large-scale promotion campaigns and the availability of top-notch international brands in Dubai’s malls also contribute to its success.

How do you expect this year’s DSF to proceed?
Over the past editions, officials were keen to hold the event during a period marking an official holiday but this is not the case this year. DSF 2008 is intended to be the central attraction, which is a big challenge for all concerned. The results achieved in this year’s edition as far as the retail sector is concerned, and the contribution of the event in revitalising retail sales during the first quarter of 2008 will determine the success of this year’s new policy.

You mentioned the retail sales during DSF usually account for 25 to 30 per cent of the sales volume achieved throughout a whole year. Do you expect similar figures this year?

It goes without saying that DSF is a sought-after shopping season awaited by malls and stores throughout Dubai. This manifests itself in the exciting promotions and massive reductions offered during this annual bonanza, providing brisk business for all retailers. But, as I mentioned earlier, the new date of this year’s edition is a big challenge, and, therefore, if we manage to achieve at least last year’s figures, it would be a resounding success. In the meantime, we expect the month-long event to record a 50 per cent increase in sales in comparison to the volume of sales achieved in any other month of the year. 

How many shopping centres are participating in this year’s edition?

Forty centres are taking part either as main or support sponsors. They will all offer collective or individual raffles.

What about this year’s visitors?
DSF is expected to attract large numbers of tourists from Europe as well as Asia.

What can visitors expect from BurJuman this year?
BurJuman has been a regular DSF sponsor since its launch. We are certain such a strategic partnership has reflected positively on the popularity and sales of BurJuman. For DSF 2008, BurJuman has increased the usual DSF budget by 50 per cent, besides offering massive promotions that are to be unveiled soon. Special decorations have been designed. More than 80 per cent of the centre’s shops are participating in this year’s edition and offering discounts of 80 per cent, as well as running numerous other promotions.


Eisa Adam Ibrahim,
Chairman of the Dubai Shopping Malls Group

Eisa Adam Ibrahim, general manager, BurJuman, is the Chairman of the Dubai Shopping Malls Group, an industry association representing nearly 40 major shopping malls in Dubai, and with the Middle East Council of Shopping Centres. The DSMG has been closely associated with various promotional activities for the Dubai Summer Surprises and Dubai Shopping Festivals. Formed under the the Department of Economic Development, DSMG was formed in 1995 to promote and foster the dynamic shopping malls industry in Dubai. As the Chairman of DSMG, he plays a key role in increasing footfalls and sales in member malls.