By Andy Sambidge
Dubai Mall's latest attraction opens amid predictions of lower UAE retail spending.
The Dubai Mall has unveiled a spectacular 24-metre high water feature as its bosses seek to add extras to the experience for shoppers amid predictions that retail spending is set to fall in the UAE in 2009.
Designed by Singapore-based DPA Architects, The Waterfall will be a gateway for several waterfront restaurants that are being planned along the Burj Dubai Lake, which will feature the Dubai Fountain, a water, light and music spectacle, 275 metres in length, and about 25 percent larger than the world-famous Bellagio Fountain in Las Vegas.
The Waterfall runs through the entire height of the mall, traversing all four levels, and is adorned with art sculptures.
Yousif Al Ali, general manager, The Dubai Mall, said: “The Waterfall in the mall is a perfect complement to the Dubai Fountain, which is currently being developed on the adjacent Burj Dubai Lake.
"It has been specifically designed to give visitors significant extras that enhance the lifestyle experience.”
The Dubai Mall opened in Nov. and will feature more than 1,200 retail and 160 food and drink outlets, when fully occupied in 2010.
In Dec, Simon Thomson, a UK-based retail consultant who has worked with some of the region’s biggest malls, told Arabian Business tourists and middle income earners will be spending less in Dubai’s malls in 2009.
“Much of the mall retailing, especially in Dubai, has been predicated on tourism and not only that, but on swelling numbers year on year. International tourism is likely to be one of the casualties of disposable income as job security becomes less certain," he said.
"The collapse of the UK pound against the dollar and euro will also reduce the number of tourists from the UK."
Sprawling over 12 million sq ft, The Dubai Mall will shortly open the Fashion Avenue, a dedicated haute couture precinct with 70 signature stores and a 22-screen cineplex, the largest in Dubai.For all the latest retail news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
I am sure shoppers will overlook the fact they are paying 25% more than they would for similar items in London or Paris because they can look at a 24m high waterfall while they do it. Dubai may no longer be the shopping capital of the world, but it is certainly the shopping-while-looking-at-a-large-waterfall capital of the world. Something we can all be very proud of.