By Neil Halligan
Dubai Shopping Festival expected to give retailers post-Christmas boost
Retail sales in Dubai are expected to reach $43.7 billion in 2015, a growth of just over five percent year-on-year.
Abdul Rahim Al Zarooni, chairman of the Al Zarooni Group, one of the sponsors of the upcoming Dubai Shopping Festival, said the retail sector is set to grow by a further $12 billion in the lead-up up to Expo 2020.
“Retail sales in 2013 were recorded at around 145 billion dirhams ($39.6 billion) and according to a specialised study they are expected to increase to 204 billion dirhams ($55.7 billion) in the coming seven years,” Al Zarooni said, speaking to Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.
“We expect the Expo 2020 to give the retail businesses a strong boost. Now that we are at the end of 2014, retail sales are expected to exceed 152 billion dirhams ($41.5 billion).
“We expect sales to reach around 160 billion dirhams ($43.7 billion) in 2015,” he added.
Al Zarooni said Dubai is ranked only second after London as a city that has the largest collection of international retail brands under one roof, ahead of major cities such as New York, Moscow, Shanghai, Paris and Singapore.
He said retail continues to be an important part of Dubai’s economy, representing almost one-third of the emirate’s GDP, according to the 2013 statistics.
After the recent Christmas boost, Dubai Shopping Festival, which starts on Thursday, will see retailers another tempt shoppers back for the month-long event, with slashed prices.
The daily display of fireworks that light up the skies over Dubai each day of the festival every year, are sponsored by the Al Zarooni Group, who have developed numerous projects in Dubai, including the Mercato and Town Centre.
Al Zarooni said the company is currently planning on building a new shopping mall in Karama, with details of the second one will be announced at a later stage.
“The second mall will be a distinctive addition to the current portfolio of shopping malls in Dubai and will become one of the popular icons of the city,” he said.
“In addition to the shopping malls, the company is currently looking at expanding Mercato to be able to accommodate a growing number of retail shops, as well as shoppers who are looking for a unique shopping experience. Al Zarooni Group will [also] soon launch six projects in the retail, real estate and hospitality sectors,” he added.