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Dragon Mart, Burj Al Arab gear up for Chinese New Year
posted on 05/02/2016

Dragon Mart, touted as Dubai's unofficial China Town, is gearing up for the Chinese New Year celebrations with cultural performances and dragon dances to usher in the Year of the Monkey beginning on February 8.
Dragon Mart 1 and the newly-opened Dragon Mart 2 will host the Chinese New Year celebrations beginning February 8 with dragon dances, face changing shows, teapot shows, aerial performances, Kung Fu, and Chinese traditional dances. A group of performers are flying in from China to perform thrice each day spread across four stages throughout Dragon Mart 2.
"We celebrate Chinese New Year in both developments [Dragon Mart 1 and 2] as this is an important opportunity for us to showcase Chinese culture and traditions. Dragon Mart is the largest Chinese trading hub outside China. Dubai is known as the second home to most of these Chinese traders and it's a great time of the year during which they can share their culture with the local people,” Omar Khoury, Director of Nakheel Retail, told Gulf News.
There are roughly 4,000 retailers at Dragon Mart 1 and 2. Chinese traders account for about 90 per cent of the non-food and beverage shops.
The UAE is home to more than 200,000 Chinese nationals working in different sectors. It has been China's second largest trading partner and biggest export market in the Middle East and Northern Africa region for many years, making it an important hub for Chinese products. In 2014, bilateral trade hit a new high of $54.8 billion (Dh201.1billion).
The celebrations at Dragon Mart will go on until February 20. Some 5,000 Chinese lanterns, umbrellas and banners will also be displayed across Dragon Mart 1 and 2 on the occasion of the Lantern Festival marked on the 15th day of the first Chinese lunar month.
Also known as the Spring Festival, the Chinese New Year is a time for family get-togethers. Migrant workers come home for the holidays and hold family reunions, give red envelopes (ang pow) that contain money, enjoy watching fireworks and dragon dances and watch the traditional CCTV Gala.
Meanwhile, in other parts of the city, the Burj Al Arab, also a popular destination for Chinese tourists, is hosting its annual Chinese New Year celebration on February 8 in Al Falak Ballroom, complete with an array of Chinese culinary delights and live entertainment.
A traditional lion dance from the Guangzhou Labourers Lion Dance Association (GLLDA) will be coming to the world's only seven-star hotel for the occasion. GLLDA, China's first lion dancing association, owns more than 100 lion masks and 18 dragons, along with a professional drum crew comprising hundreds of members. They have performed at some of the most high-profile events in the world.
Anthony McHale, General Manager of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, said: "We have a number of guests visiting from China every year and we feel that it is very important as an internationally diverse hotel to celebrate such momentous occasions.”
On February 6, Saturday, students at the Chinese Learning Institute from 14 classes will hold their own celebrations along with cultural performances. – Gulf News -


Abu Dhabi’s Yas Mall hits shopping milestone
posted on 04/02/2016

Twenty million visitors have visited Abu Dhabi's first super-regional shopping centre at Yas Mall since it opened in November 2014 – roughly the equivalent of seven visits over the year by every person living in Abu Dhabi emirate.
According to the Abu Dhabi developer Aldar, which owns the 235,000 square metre mall on Yas Island, close to the capital's main airport, a total of 18 million shoppers visited last year alone.
To put that in context, according to Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi, the entire population of Abu Dhabi emirate stood at 2.6 million in 2014.
"I am very pleased with the growth in visitor numbers we have witnessed at Yas Mall in 2015,” said Aldar's chief executive Mohamed Al Mubarak.
The number falls slightly short of Aldar's predictions at opening that the UAE's second-largest mall would receive about 20 million visitors a year – equating to 54,794 a day.
By comparison, about 90 million shoppers visited the UAE's largest shopping mall during just the first nine months of the year, The Dubai Mall, owner Emaar Malls Group reported in October. However, a large proportion of those are thought to have been tourists who come in larger numbers to Dubai than to Abu Dhabi.
According to Aldar, 96 per cent of its 82 shops and 63 dining venues were trading by the end of 2015 including the UAE's first Apple store and the 20,000 square metre Tryano fashion outlet – something it said was likely to boost visitor numbers over the coming year.
Since its opening, the mall has provided the backbone of Aldar's recurring revenues portfolio – something the Abu Dhabi government-backed developer has been attempting to grow as part of a strategy designed to leave it less susceptible to property cycles.
The increase in visitor numbers comes despite reports of a decline in consumer spending in the UAE caused by falling oil prices and a reduction of tourist spending.
In November the management consulting firm Bain & Co reported that after years of soaring numbers, growth in the overall personal luxury goods market in the UAE slowed in real terms to just 1 or 2 per cent.
It also comes as construction work continues on two more super regional malls in Abu Dhabi – the 2.3 million sq. foot Al Maryah Central, which is being built next to the luxury Galleria shopping centre on Al Maryah Island, and the 2.8 million sq. ft. Reem Mall being built on nearby Reem Island.
When it opens on March 1, 2018, Al Maryah Central alone expects to attract between 20 million and 25 million visitors a year, potentially taking visitors away from Yas Mall. – The National -


Reem Mall developers gets detailed planning approval from Abu Dhabi's Urban Planning Council
posted on 14/01/2016

Developers for Reem Mall, the UAE capital's up and coming leisure, shopping, entertainment and dining destination, yesterday announced that the $1 billion project has been granted detailed planning approval by the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, UPC, marking the final go-ahead required to take the project to the next stage only six months after the mall's concept plans were approved, a rapid turnaround for a project of this scale.
More than 100 senior Abu Dhabi government and business leaders gathered yesterday for a special event to mark this significant milestone, pledge their ongoing support for Reem Mall, and mark the continued momentum that the project has built over the past 18 months.
Shane Eldstrom, Chief Operating Officer for Reem Mall, said, "Reem Mall is an extraordinary project that will bring world-class shopping, leisure and entertainment to the heart of Abu Dhabi. We have made incredible progress over the past 18 months, and the detailed planning approval marks the final go-ahead required from the UPC .
"None of this progress would have been possible without the tremendous support we have received from the Government of Abu Dhabi, and many other partner organisations in the UAE capital and beyond.
"The UPC has been working closely with us throughout the planning process, to ensure that the project responds to the needs of local communities, that it is safe, and that it meets the highest standards of energy and environmental design. We are proud to have worked so closely and harmoniously with the UPC since the very early days of the project."
The UPC and the Reem Mall development team met regularly over the course of 2015 to incorporate design enhancements put forward by the UPC 's Urban Development and Estidama Sector. The UPC also had to ensure the project fit within other relevant master plans, including the Al Reem Island Integrated Concept Master Plan, which was approved in April 2015, and the mixed-use Najmat Abu Dhabi community on the south of the island in which the mall is situated.
Mohamed Al Khadar, Executive Director of Urban Development and Estidama Sector, UPC, said, "For the ongoing development of Abu Dhabi, and for a project of this magnitude, it was essential that the UPC and the Reem Mall developers collaborate closely to ensure that every recommended enhancement put forward during the UPC 's planning review process was successfully adopted, while still meeting the target deadline for detailed approval and breaking ground.
"Reem Mall forms an integral part of the Al Reem Island Integrated Concept Master Plan, meets the UPC 's range of planning regulations and guidelines as part of the Complete Sustainable Communities suite of documents, and has achieved an Estidama 2 Pearl Rating, ensuring that the facility is of the highest quality in every aspect of design, sustainability and functionality.
"With a projected population of 210,000 residents, Al Reem Island is a core component of Plan Capital 2030 - the framework plan for Abu Dhabi Metropolitan Area. The provision of community facilities, including retail and leisure amenities, to meet the needs of Al Reem Island's residents and those in neighbouring areas is paramount to the island's successful evolution, in line with the goals of Vision 2030." – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Marina Mall Abu Dhabi’s ‘mammoth’ surprise
posted on 09/12/2015

Giant footsteps were imprinted in Abu Dhabi as Marina Mall unveiled the UAE's latest historical attraction, a 15,000 year-old Woolly Mammoth, in the presence of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Advisor to the President of the UAE and Chairman of the National Investment Corporation.
The event was also attended by a number of VIP guests, Marina Mall Management, and natural history fans.
Commenting on the big reveal, Nikolaos Kontos, Head of Marketing at Marina Mall – Abu Dhabi, said, "As one of Abu Dhabi's iconic destinations, we love to create an exclusive customer experience through a mix of great shopping and fun attractions for all the family. The arrival of this legendary creature to Marina Mall – Abu Dhabi is a very exciting milestone for us but also for the UAE as a whole."
"This newest member of the Marina Mall family not only creates an exciting atmosphere that attracts more visitors, but also provides an educational experience for all ages with the opportunity to witness the magnitude of the genuine life-sized mammoth fossil up-close."
Visitors are now invited to rediscover the past through a close-up encounter with this natural piece of history that has never been seen before in the UAE. Standing tall at four metres and weighing one tonne, the genuine fossil was discovered in the late 1990's on the banks of the Irtysh River in Siberia, and is considered one of the largest and most complete fossils to have ever been discovered.
The behaviour of these legendary creatures, which mainly resided in Asia, Europe and North Africa, resembled that of modern elephants. Despite their large size – a fully grown Mammoth can weigh between up to eight tonnes, equivalent to the weight of a double-decker bus – they are known to be gentle creatures that mostly enjoyed grazing on fresh grass.
Their coats varied in colour between light and dark and were covered in fur, with an outer covering of long hairs and a shorter undercoat. They had short ears and tails to minimise frostbite. Little is known about the species' extinction, but it is thought to have likely been due to climate change, human hunting or a combination of the two.
The event was hosted by one of the most prominent female presenters in the region, award-winning Nada Shaibani.
The Mammoth is on permanent display at Marina Mall – Abu Dhabi. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Global Village returns with a bang
posted on 02/11/2015

Global Village, the region's largest outdoor family destination and theme park, opens on Tuesday with an enhanced infrastructure and a slew of other additions to add to visitors' cultural experience, officials announced on Sunday.
Returning even bigger in its 20th season this year, the theme park will run for 159 days with 32 pavilions and more than 75 countries represented, compared with the 70 listed last year.
With the expanded line-up of attractions, concerts and entertainment for adults and children, visitors will be overjoyed once they see the newly introduced trains picking them up to and from the car park to the new iconic entrance ‘The Gate of the World' for free. Each train has a capacity of 60 passengers.
The new ‘Gate of The World' is said to be the largest gate in Global Village's history featuring 40 turnstile entrances and 40 ticketing counters.
For those who want to avoid the queue, Global Village has introduced a new friendly ticketing system where tickets to the park can be bought online or on a Global Village smartphone application.
This year's significant improvements and highlights range from infrastructure enhancements and facilities to exciting new shows and artists. Two high-end shows created specially for Global Village were announced, The Fiestaval and Dreams, to be performed by renowned street actors and performers.
There is also the LED Mono-velos street act which will have illuminated monocycles with riders, Bollywood musical featuring the Khans of Bollywood and Bollywood wedding shows and Hollywood stunt show with car chases, bike stunts and action scenes.
Ahmad Hussain Bin Eisa, CEO at Global Village, said the enhancements came in response to guests' feedback and are in line with the five-year strategic development plan of Global Village, which matches the vision of Dubai Tourism for 2020 and seeks to attract more visitors to the emirate.
"Global Village is the ideal destination for both families and individuals from the UAE as well as from across the Middle East,” he said. "There will be a number of new and exciting surprises throughout the season as well as high-quality entertainment facilities that will guarantee an unforgettable experience and attract our guests to return again and again.''
New pavilions participating for the first time are Russia and Japan, with the return of Indonesia and Palestine. All pavilion facades have been redesigned to provide better representation of the culture and heritage of the countries.
Among the major enhancements is the 22,000 square metres of additional grass seating areas. The Main Cultural Stage has also been enhanced to boost the audio and visual experience for the crowd, so that they can experience the show wherever they are standing.
Fantasy Island will return once again and will be operated by Mellors Entertainment, a funfair operator that has operated attractions in the heart of London and other venues for more than 100 years. This season's newly introduced rides include Crazy Golf (Children Ride); Cape fear Ghost Train (Family Ride) and Loop fighter (Thrill Ride).
Apart from offering cuisines from around the world at 100 themed food and beverage kiosks, holding firework displays every Thursday and Friday and featuring cultural and stunt shows by professional performers, Global Village is bringing in musicians and singers from across the world to perform. Artists include Strings, Sa'ad Lamjarrad, Fares Karam, Balqees, Mohammad Assaf, Shreya Goshal and Abdullah Ruwaishid.
Entry tickets will remain Dh15 this year. Children under three years of age, people with special needs and their companion, and people over 65 years old, however, may visit free of charge.
Visitors can visit to know more about the kinds of shows this year and their timings. – Gulf News -


The wait is over - Middle East’s first and second Apple stores open in Dubai and Abu Dhabi
posted on 31/10/2015

They turned up in their hundreds, if not thousands, to witness the opening of the first Apple store in the Middle East at Dubai's Mall of the Emirates on Thursday afternoon.
The snaking queue – shepherded by airport control tape and a 20-strong team of security staff – outside the store had been started on Tuesday evening by a suitably enigmatic Apple aficionado who said he had witnessed 40 Apple store openings – but didn't want to give his name.
As the shop opened, he was greeted like a marathon winner ... high fives, hugs, and then held aloft by a phalanx of grey and black clad Apple staff.
Second in the queue was an Emirati gentleman, Mohammed Jawad, who had "only” waited 26 hours – which raised the question: why?
"Because I love all things Apple and this is a moment in history,” he said.
"Apple is an icon of modern design and technology, and the stores are only in cities that reflect those values. This is an exciting moment for Dubai and the UAE.”
The cheering, chanting staff and countdown to the 4pm opening hyped up an atmosphere akin to teenage fandom. Apple, it seems, is the Harry Styles of technology.
It is the first time the California-based company has opened two stores in the same country on the same day since its first and second Apple stores opened their doors in the United States.
Apple is notoriously shy when dealing with the media, until it wants to. Key Apple staff such as Angela Ahrendts, Apple's senior vice president for retail and online stores was present but when asked for a comment by The National she turned away, and an Apple staff member said she would not be talking to the media as "she is only here to enjoy the day”. Other Apple fans enjoying the day once they entered the hallowed portal were less coy about why they had waited for two hours outside a locked door to see products they had already seen and were familiar with.
"I don't know why I'm here,” said Abdullah Albanna, an investment manager in Dubai. "I just think its exciting, I already have at least 5 apple products but I'm sure there must be something in here I can buy. In the long run it is great to have a store that can offer brilliant technical support and information – we have needed that.”
Yasmine Mohammed, an office worker in Dubai, said: "I have only just bought an iPhone – not from here. I am hoping someone can tell me all the things the phone can do and help me set it up – then it will have been worth the wait.”
With the second store also opening, in Yas Mall, on Thursday evening and a third Apple shop scheduled for Dubai Mall in May, Apple has made a significant shift into the Middle East, but industry watchers suggest that does not mean Apple stores will become a staple across the region.
"Countries such as the KSA and Qatar are still in development mode with regard to retail,” said Christopher Seymour, head of Middle East markets at the engineering and design consultancy Arcadis. "The KSA has a youthful population that love smartphone but Apple is more than the iPhone. It has nearly 150 different products in the Dubai store. Apple needs a dependable customer base and continuous footfall.”
A recent report from Arcadis ranked the UAE first in the Middle East and eighth globally when it comes to market attractiveness for retailers.
"If the UAE keeps the tourists coming in then retailers will benefit,” Mr Seymour said. – The National -


Abu Dhabi's Reem Mall: World's largest indoor snow-play park
posted on 31/10/2015

The developers of Dh3.67-billion Reem Mall, Abu Dhabi's new shopping and leisure destination, will be home to the world's largest indoor snow-play park.
The announcement marks another major entertainment destination for the UAE capital, as it continues to enhance its position as a global tourism and leisure hub.
The 125,000 square feet attraction is set to include a variety of activities and experiences to be enjoyed by the entire family – from sledging to zorbing to luge.
Developed by the NREC and UPAC, Reem Mall will bring a new dimension to the leisure and retail offering in Abu Dhabi. Expected to open in 2018, it will include some 450 stores including 85 food and beverage outlets.
"Reem Mall is one of the most ambitious and exciting retail and leisure projects ever undertaken in Abu Dhabi, and we are thrilled to announce the news of it becoming home to the world's largest indoor snow-play park,” said Shane Eldstrom, Chief Operating Officer for Reem Mall.
"From the outset, Reem Mall has been designed as the ultimate family destination, and this fantastic new attraction will make it the place to meet, shop and play. We look forward to sharing more exciting details in the coming months.”
Located on Reem Island, the new mall development is strategically positioned within the new master-developed residential and commercial zone, which – according to Abu Dhabi's Urban Planning Council – will eventually be home to more than 210,000 people.
Established in Kuwait in 1973, NREC (National Real Estate Company) has grown into one of the largest real estate companies in the region with ventures across the Middle East and North Africa.
Established in 2000, and headquartered in Kuwait, UPAC (United Projects for Aviation Services Company) is a leading commercial real estate and facilities management company with a specialisation in build operate transfer initiatives.
Dubai is home to the first indoor ski venue – Ski Dubai – in Mall of the Emirates. Meydan Group is also planning to build the world's largest indoor ski venue, which will be part of its Meydan One development. – Emirates 24/7 -


UAE ranked Middle East’s most attractive retail market, eighth globally: Arcadis report
posted on 30/10/2015

A recent report from built asset consultancy, Arcadis, has revealed that the UAE's strong infrastructure and business friendly environment make the country an attractive market for retailers.
The report ranked the UAE first in the Middle East and eighth globally when it comes to market attractiveness for retailers.
Commenting on the study, Bassam Saleh, Marketing Manager, Al Bawadi Mall, said that the UAE is far above any other retail market in the region, and scoring high globally.
Mr Saleh attributed this success to the fair investment policies that encourage more retail groups to explore collaboration with global brands and expand their presence in the UAE's vast market. "The expanding UAE communities boost demand for retail services," he said. "For example, Al Ain is growing rapidly, so we have responded with organising a series of entertainment and educational campaigns which have contributed to generating wider demand from all around the UAE and neighbouring areas."
Al Bawadi Mall, which is Al Ain city's biggest mall, wrapped up summer with 2,921,860 visitors in 3 months. The summer of 2015 was the best in the mall's history in terms of visitors, whose numbers rose 5%. The mall played host to all new type of activities and campaigns, some of which will become annual events. "We even gave the mall a new online look with a user-friendly revamped website, making it easy for visitors to track their preferred events and follow the latest offers across 400 outlets," said Saleh.
The mall had to extend working hours for few retailers to cope with the daily demand. "The ease in accessibility and growing community around Al Bawadi Mall brings more business to retailers in the mall. Buoyed by growing sales in the region, retail conglomerates have reaped hefty profits," added Saleh.
"The retail market in the UAE has become mature enough to compete on the global level. We have brands in Al Bawadi Mall that are targeting nation-wide expansion, spurred by booming tourism and franchisors' confidence, which naturally help generate higher sales. We anticipate even bigger growth until the end of first quarter of 2016," concluded Saleh. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Nakheel awards Dh2.3 billion construction contracts for major retail projects
posted on 18/10/2015

Dubai-based master developer Nakheel has awarded nearly Dh2.3 billion construction contracts for three major retail portfolio projects.
The company has confirmed in a statement, the builders of Deira Islands Night Souk, Warsan Souk and The Circle Mall, which, combined, offer nearly 2.3 million square feet of retail space and over 6,700 shopping, dining and entertainment outlets.
It signed contracts with the following companies: Dh1.17 billion contract with United Engineering Construction LLC (UNEC) for Deira Islands Night Souk and Boardwalk. Dh775 million contract with Ginco General Contracting LLC for Warsan Souk. And Dh353.75 million contract with Gulf Technical Construction Company LLC for The Circle Mall. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Dubai tops the list of shopping destinations for Muslims
posted on 30/09/2015

Dubai has been ranked the number one destination in the world for Muslims to travel to for shopping purposes, according to a new report released by MasterCard and CrescentRating ahead of the upcoming Global Islamic Summit to be held in Dubai.
The Muslim Travel Shopping Index 2015 (MTSI 2015) was released during MasterCard's Innovation Forum in Kuala Lumpur. It analyses the trends and preferences of the Muslim traveller shopping market based on the performance of 40 main international shopping destinations against a number of set criteria. Compiled by MasterCard and CrescentRating, the publication of the inaugural MTSI2015 Index ranked Dubai the leading destination with a weighted score of 79.5 out of 100.
Dubai tops the list of shopping destinations for Muslims outright, being recognised as the first-placed Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) MTSI 2015 destination as well as heading the list of non-OIC destinations. The city's next closest competitor is Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, with a score of 73.3, emphasising just how successfully Dubai has been able to market itself as a leading shopping destination. Sharjah ranked fifth highest MTSI destination in the Arab World, coming in 12th overall with a competitive score of 55.3.
Other cities from within the Arab World performed strongly on the MTSI 2015. Manama in Bahrain was the second highest ranked destination in the Arab World according MTSI Index for destinations within the OIC, coming in at seventh overall with a score of 59.6. Doha in Qatar was close behind with an overall ranking of eighth, and a score of 59.5. Riyadh in Saudi Arabia was the fourth highest ranked destination in the MTSI 2015 OIC list for the region, with an overall ranking of ninth and a weighted score of 59.3.
Raghu Malhotra, Division President, Middle East and North Africa, MasterCard said, "With 108 million Muslim travellers representing 10 per cent of the entire travel economy in 2014, and forecasted to grow even further to 150 million visitors by 2020, it is evident this segment of the travel market represents a huge opportunity for both public and private sector organisations. We are very pleased to publish this Index on the travel and shopping patterns of Muslim communities in order for organisations around the world to more effectively target and capture share of this lucrative travel sector.
Earlier this year, Dubai was ranked amongst the top five most popular destination cities in the world in MasterCard's 2015 Global Destination Cities Index and has consistently advanced its position since the annual index first launched in 2012. This further underlines the city's dynamism and enduring positive reputation amongst international travellers."
Fazal Bahardeen, CEO of CrescentRating & HalalTrip said, "The MTSI is a fascinating insight into the shopping habits of Muslim consumers and will prove to be an invaluable tool to the entire sector. The research looks at two of the most important expenditure components of Muslim travellers which is shopping and dining. It is a perfect complement to the GMTI2015 which we launched earlier this year and allows us to provide a complete picture of how Muslims spend their money when travelling."
MTSI uses a comprehensive set of metrics to rank destinations including a city's suitability as a shopping destination, its Muslim-friendly services and facilities, and its ease of travel and family friendliness. Collectively, these factors contribute to the overall score and ranking of each destination.
Key findings of the MTSI 2015 report include: Total expenditure of Muslim travellers visiting the 40 cities included in the report amounted to $36 billion in 2014. Of this total expenditure, $9.3 billion (26 per cent) was spent on shopping.
56 per cent of respondents shop for souvenirs as typical purchases, while 45 per cent shop for local clothing brands. 40 per cent of respondents also purchase Islamic clothing and accessories, while 38 per cent chose traditional handicrafts to buy.
Results of the study highlight that 27 per cent of respondents spend between $250 – 500 on shopping whilst travelling, while 24 per cent spend between $500 – 1,000, and 20 per cent spend over $1,000.
When travelling, 55 per cent of the survey pool still prefers to use cash for purchases. 35 per cent on the other hand, prefer using credit cards for their purchases, while 6 per cent utilise debit cards.
Singapore and London ranked among the top five destinations for Muslim shopping travellers, revealing that Muslims are becoming more adventurous and welcoming of new shopping and dining experiences.
Although OIC destinations have an advantage due to possessing Muslim-friendly environments as a default, non-OIC destinations can successfully compete for Muslim travellers by proactively catering to this segment. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


ADCB and Gulf Related sign Dh2.3 billion agreement
posted on 29/09/2015

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, ADCB, and Gulf Related have signed a Dh2.3 billion agreement to provide senior debt project financing for the construction of Al Maryah Central mixed-use retail development, scheduled to open in March 2018.
The financing agreement is the largest of its kind in the region for Gulf Related and its owners, Gulf Capital and Related Companies, further highlighting the strong reception and institutional support for Al Maryah Central development.
The 2.3 million sq. ft. regional mall will feature the first Macy's outside of the United States, the first Bloomingdale's in Abu Dhabi and 20 specialist Al Tayer stores as part of the 400 store strong retail offering. In addition, Al Maryah Central will include 145 restaurants and cafes, a 20-screen cinema complex, a medical centre, a crθche, a health-club, a public library, a food market as well as three rooftop parks atop the mall. Subsequent phases of the development will include residential units and a hotel in two high rise towers.
Financing by ADCB will fund a portion of the development cost of the mixed-use retail development and is an important milestone in the strong progress of the project. The project broke ground in November of 2014, commenced vertical construction earlier this month and is scheduled to open in March 2018.
Dr. Karim El Solh, CEO of Gulf Capital and Co-Managing Partner of Gulf Related, said, "We are very pleased to have secured the financial backing of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank for Al Maryah Central, one of the most anticipated developments in the region. This financing continues a long standing partnership with ADCB and we are proud to be collaborating with them on this exciting project. Securing the full financing marks another key milestone in the construction of the project and further underscores our ability to deliver this high quality development on schedule."
Ala'a Eraiqat, Group CEO and Board Member of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, said, "ADCB is proud to be collaborating with Gulf Related on Al Maryah Central and to be the sole lead bank for the financing for this marquee project. Al Maryah Central, located at the heart of Al Maryah Island and with its unique anchor department stores and international brands, will transform the urban retail landscape in Abu Dhabi. Our project finance team recognised the appeal and unique positioning of this project and were able to put together the most competitive and sophisticated financing package. This major financing is in line with ADCB's strategy to support and contribute to the long term growth of the economy in Abu Dhabi."
Vertical construction on Al Maryah Central commenced on 9th August 2015 following the appointment of Brookfield Multiplex as the main contractor for the project. Al Maryah Central is adjacent to Abu Dhabi Global Market Square luxury retail and dining destination, The Galleria on Al Maryah Island, which was developed by Gulf Related with Mubadala Real Estate and Infrastructure. Al Maryah Central and The Galleria will be physically interconnected and together will create an unrivalled 2.9 million square foot shopping and dining destination for Abu Dhabi. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE retailers ready for rush of shoppers during Eid break
posted on 23/09/2015

Malls and food distributors are gearing up for a bumper sales week as shoppers prepare to splash their cash for the Eid Al Adha holiday.
A huge influx of visitors from neighbouring countries including Saudi Arabia and Oman is expected over the period.
The Eid Al Adha break for staff at all government ministries and federal bodies begins today, with work resuming on Sunday. Private sector workers also start their holiday today, returning on the Saturday.
"We are already witnessing increasing numbers of visitors from Oman and Saudi Arabia in Ibn Batuta Mall,” said Rebecca Rees, communications manager for Nakheel.
"We have an average daily footfall of around 55,00 visitors, but the Eid al Fitr holiday in July this year saw visitor numbers reach an average of 87,000 driven by residents, GCC nationals and other tourists,” she added.
"Our expectations are similar for this holiday although our ‘Giant Claw' holiday attraction in the China Court has proven so popular already, with the queues so long we have had to institute a lottery for participants.”
The Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment said that a huge surge of GCC visitors was expected during Eid Al Adha. The holiday is a key target for trading among all major retailers in the UAE.
"Eid Al Adha remains a key retail period for us,” said Fuad Mansoor Sharaf, the senior director of property management at Majid Al Futtaim. "We are optimistic that residents and visitors from Saudi and other GCC countries including Oman and Qatar will be taking advantage of the entertainment activities on offer. This is a trend we have witnessed over the past years.”
Food distributors and producers are also expecting a spike in demand.
"Eid Al Adha will see an increase in demand, maybe 15 to 20 per cent,” said Gopi Pillai, the sales and marketing manager for Al Ain Poultry. "We produce 20 tonnes of fresh chicken daily and 280,000 eggs which are distributed throughout the country.”
Carrefour, Lulu Hypermarket, Geant, Spinneys and Hyperpanda are all running Eid Al Adha promotions with a variety of discounts across a spectrum of products and accessories. Spinneys has a traditional offering discounting a range of confectionery and celebratory soft drinks, with Geant discounting a range of fish, meat and fruit.
Lulu has discounted its Philips range of electronic appliances. Most promotions end on Saturday. – The National -


Dubai wins bid to host 10th World Retail Congress
posted on 13/09/2015

Dubai has won the bid to host the 10th World Retail Congress 2016, adding another feather to its cap of achievements as an international business and retail destination.
The announcement came during the concluding day of the 9th Congress in Rome where Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry-led trade mission participated.
As part of its strategy to promote Dubai's business attractiveness to international investors, the Dubai delegation was led by Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman, and included Hamad Buamim, President and CEO, Dubai Chamber, as well as a number of leading retailers and officials from the emirate.
Majid Saif Al Ghurair said: "The opportunity to host this global event will also promote Dubai's status as a global hub for major events, conferences and exhibitions, which also complements Dubai Chamber's commitment to bringing high profile global events to the emirate to promote its vibrant investment environment to leading international investors.”
Hamad Buamim said Dubai will add value to the Congress as this landmark event is the biggest convention of the retail industry's leading professionals and will help enhance the competitiveness and potential of Dubai retailers.
He further stressed that the retail sector is a key pillar of Dubai's economy, contributing about 29 per cent to the emirate's GDP as the expected volume of retail trade was around Dh86 billion in 2014, with expected growth rise of 5.9 per cent during the current year while expecting to maintain the same growth rate for the sector at compound annual growth rate of 6.1 per cent until 2019, indicating positive outlook for the sector's growth in the medium to long term.
The President and CEO of Dubai Chamber informed that there are many factors that help in the growth of the retail sector in Dubai including the growing economic prosperity, steady population growth, rising salaries leading to high consumer spending, cultural diversity, tourism growth, continuation of infrastructure development projects, and the establishment of more commercial centres which are supporting the retail sector development.
Since its inception in 2007, the World Retail Congress has taken place in major European cities including Barcelona, Berlin, London, Paris and Rome. – Emirates 24│7 -


Details revealed for Dubai giant water slide
posted on 10/09/2015

The wait is almost over for those eager to try out Dubai's latest attraction, City Slide – a 500-metre inflatable water-flume thrill ride.
Adventure seekers will be able to whizz down the slides at Dubai Autodrome on September 25 and 26, propelled by jets of soapy water as they try to keep their balance on inflatable rubber rings.
The fun does not stop there.
"As well as the two waterslides, Du Live City Slide will also have water fights, the Aqua Ride, a DJ arena and live music from regional artists,” said Uttam Kumar, managing director of Tamquest Entertainment.
Tickets for entry to the event and a two-hour slide session are Dh170. Entry alone is Dh50. Children younger than 5 enter free but are not allowed to slide.
Slide time slots are available between 11am and 11pm, subject to availability.
Those wishing to take part should visit – The National -


Dubai’s Mall of the World master plan revamped for transport system
posted on 09/09/2015

The master plan for Dubai Holding's Mall of the World has been reworked to make it a more transport-friendly location, said the development's new chief operating officer Morgan Parker. The layout of the site has been changed to make it more "permeable”, with roads running through to create a series of retail boulevards.
An integrated transport hub linking the metro, three tram lines – including a branch to Arabian Ranches – and a major new bus interchange will also be a feature of the site, Mr Parker added.
"We hope to partner with the RTA and other government municipalities,” Mr Parker said. "Who pays for that, we haven't worked out yet. The idea, though, is by creating this transport hub we can create the highest value real estate in the city. Where there's people, there's vibrancy. And where there's vibrancy and energy, there's value.”
The Dh25bn Mall of the World project was first unveiled last year.
Dubai Holding had said last year that tenders for the first phase of the project were likely to be awarded in the first quarter of this year, with probable completion by the first quarter of 2018. That timetable now appears to have been ambitious.
For instance, Mr Parker said that 60 per cent of the Mall of the World site is still occupied by Dubai's Police Academy. And although a new facility is being built to replace this, it is not likely to be ready for at least two years.
"The responsibility of moving Dubai's Police academy, where all of the new recruits come in and get trained, is significant. It's an important part of Dubai's security apparatus.”
Designs are being worked up for the remaining 40 per cent of the site, but Mr Parker could not say when the project is likely to break ground. He said that the first phase would contain all five elements of the site's wider offer – retail, office, residential, hospitality and entertainment.
"I'm not going to build 3,000 hotel rooms if there's no demand for it. That would just be silly. It depends on market demand, the availability of land and the infrastructure required to service those buildings,” Mr Parker said. – The National -


Dubai Holding appoints Chief Operating Officer of Mall of the World
posted on 09/09/2015

Dubai Holding has announced yesterday the appointment of Morgan Parker as Chief Operating Officer of Mall of the World. Morgan joins Dubai Holding from the Rockefeller family-owned global private equity firm, Rose Rock, where he served as CEO.
His experience as a senior executive at Morgan Stanley, Taubman Centres and Lend Lease, spans two decades as developer, investor and banker in all Asia Pacific markets, completing 65 projects in nine countries. Morgan's versatility and wealth of experience has led him to hold a number of industry board positions since 2005. At Dubai Holding, Morgan will oversee progress of the latest major project, Mall of the World, which is expected to add significantly to the emirate's tourism, retail and hospitality portfolio.
Ahmad Bin Byat, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Dubai Holding, said, "What we are creating is essentially a seamlessly integrated core of the city, the model for which is being carefully designed to serve the emirate's economic agenda and strengthen Dubai's global positioning in tourism and unique urban living. Given the scale and strategic importance of Mall of the World, I am pleased to appoint Morgan Parker to directly manage the project. His expertise in delivering projects of scale and complexity is acknowledged across international real estate markets."
Commenting on his new role, Morgan Parker said, "Dubai has an unrivalled potential to grow its international appeal and Mall of the World has been envisioned to create a permeable, flexible urban fabric that allows infinite possibility to rise into the future. I am pleased to take charge of a project that has captured the imagination of people in Dubai and beyond and I am confident that my expertise from Asia Pacific will bring a fresh perspective to the project." – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Lego certified stores coming to Dubai
posted on 27/08/2015

Majid Al Futtaim (MAF), a Dubai-based retail and hospitality conglomerate, plans to bring Lego certified stores to Dubai for the first time.
The stores will open in Mall of the Emirates, City Centre Mirdif in August, and The Dubai Mall later this year. It also plans to have stores in Kuwait this year (360 Mall and The Avenues).
The first Lego certified store in the Middle East opened at Abu Dhabi's Yas Mall in November 2014.
Lego is a popular line of construction toys consisting of interlocking plastic building blocks for children.
Dubai will also see Legoland Dubai, a Lego theme park that is set to open in 2016. The Legoland theme park, which will be the first in the Middle East and the seventh worldwide, will make up the first phase of Meraas Holding's Dubai Parks & Resorts master development in Jebel Ali.
Covering an area of three million square feet, Legoland Dubai will include more than 15,000 Lego model structures made from over 60 million Lego bricks. This includes more than 40 interactive rides, shows and attractions set in six themed areas — Lego City, Adventure, Lego Kingdom, Create, Lego Factory and Miniland.
Lego, founded in 1932, sells its products in more than 130 countries.
MAF's other attractions include Ski Dubai, Magic Planet, Little Explorers, iFly Dubai and Wahooo! Waterpark. – Gulf News -


Nakheel continues push into Dubai retail with second Al Furjan mall
posted on 12/08/2015

Nakheel's aggressive push into Dubai's retail market shows no sign of abating as it presses on with community malls, with another planned at Al Furjan.
The developer plans to announce the project imminently, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The second mall at Al Furjan – a development with plans for 2,200 villas near Jebel Ali, built by Nakheel and third parties – follows the first, which is fully leased and set to open this year.
Nakheel's new mall will be located near a growing number of small developments and 10 large-scale ones ranging between the 3 million square feet Deira Mall and the 432,000 sq. ft. Circle Mall in Jumeirah Village Circle. All the projects are due for completion in the next five years.
The developer of Dubai's Palm islands plans to more than quadruple its leasable retail space to more than 11 million sq. ft. from the existing 2.5 million sq. ft. at its Dragon Mart and Ibn Battuta Mall developments.
"Our chairman told us we must have an income stream of Dh7.5 billion from retail leasing over the next three to five years,” said Omar Khoory, a director of Nakheel Retail. "When our 11 million sq. ft. of developments are complete, we will be moving close to that figure. Right now our income stream is 80 per cent development versus 20 per cent non-development.”
The non-development part of Nakheel's business includes its malls and hotels operations.
Experts say that UAE developers offer a host of retail options because the retail environment offers returns beyond most mature markets, but they warn that the amount of future supply could become burdensome.
"The community malls are a great idea because they have captive markets that need fulfilling,” said Craig Plumb, the head of research at the property consultants JLL. "A possible problem with the amount of space coming on stream is the amount of choice for retailers. Retailers will not be able to be present in all of them, meaning there will be winners and losers.”
Property consultants say rent increases are not likely, but are equally sanguine about the likelihood of a dramatic falls in rates because of new developments. A likely impediment to retail rates are global economic conditions.
"Dubai hasn't had a major mall delivered in five years and the timeline for delivery of these new malls is over a five-year period,” said Matthew Green, the head of research for CBRE.
"That means that the new malls can dry up some of the waiting lists of prime retail space. The economic headwinds that Dubai is facing is more likely to slow rents.
"The weakness of the Russian tourist market and the strength of the dollar, making the UAE an expensive place to visit, means that demand is dropping and we are already seeing a flattening of retail rents.” – The National -


Al Maryah Central construction to commence this month
posted on 10/08/2015

The construction of Al Maryah Central, a 2.3 million square foot regional shopping centre, located at the core of Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi, will commence this month, real estate company Gulf Related said in a statement.
Gulf Related has selected Brookfield Multiplex as the main contractor responsible for the completion of the $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) Al Maryah Central development.
When completed in March 2018, the Al Maryah Central mall will feature the first Macy's outside of the United States, the first Bloomingdale's in Abu Dhabi and 20 specialist Al Tayer stores as part of the 400 store strong retail offering.
In addition, Al Maryah Central will include 145 restaurants and cafes, a 20-screen cinema complex, a medical centre, a crθche, a health
club, a public library, a food market as well as three rooftop parks atop the mall. Subsequent phases of the development will include residential units as well as a hotel in two high rise towers.
The development broke ground in November 2014 and the excavation of the Al Maryah Central site and foundation construction work has already been completed. The $425 million Brookfield Multiplex contract covers the construction of the retail mall, with vertical construction commencing in August 2015. The mall is slated to open in March 2018. – Gulf News -


1.5m people visit Abu Dhabi beaches
posted on 09/08/2015

Beaches here have received more than 1.525 million visitors since the start of this year with Corniche Beach receiving 1.154 million visitors and Al Bateen 370,000, Abu Dhabi City Municipality said in a press release.
The civic body has introduced a raft of new services at the beaches to attract more visitors.
The Corniche Beach has facilities for aqua games, a central public address system to alert visitors of beach openings, swim times and events.
The municipality is planning to add more beach services such as water games, beach chairs and umbrellas, and diversified restaurants to meet the needs of beachgoers in coordination with the concerned divisions within Abu Dhabi City Municipality.
According to Abu Dhabi City Municipality, the number of lifeguards deployed in the beach climbed from 29 lifeguards during weekdays to 37 lifeguards during holidays.
The civic body is also focusing on improving facilities for people with special needs. It has provided floating chairs customised to fit the comfort and needs of disabled swimmers and is now in the process of constructing pathways to help them.
Regarding the new services on Al Bateen Beach, the municipality stressed that the beach had witnessed constant renovation works in order to cater to the needs of visitors, such as using the central PA system to inform visitors about the beach opening and closing times. It is also planning to introduce new services at the beach such as providing beach chairs, beach shades, marine sports, and bike rental services.
The number of lifeguards at Al Bateen Beach has now reached eight on weekdays and 12 on weekends and public holidays, in addition to four lifeguards deployed at the women's beach, the municipality said.
Work is under way to add service kiosks at the women's beach. – Gulf News -


Dubai to get longest indoor ski slope
posted on 06/08/2015

Already home to the world's biggest mall, Dubai plans to build a new mall that will be adjacent to the world's longest indoor ski slope as part of Meydan One, a large-scale leisure, residential and hospitality development.
The project, covering 3.67 million square metres, was launched on Monday by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
It will feature the Meydan One Mall, the 711-metre tall Dubai One tower, a civic plaza, a 4-kilometre canal and a marina with 100 berths.
Located in the area extending between the Meydan Hotel and Al Khail Road, the project will be developed by Meydan City Corporation.
The first phase of the project is scheduled to be completed "before 2020”, according to a statement by the developer.
The value of the project was not given.
"This development is a forward thinking, interactive enterprise geared towards the Dubai of tomorrow. The encouragement and support we have received in the past from our trusted partners will now help the Meydan One development come to life. The first phase will be completed as Dubai prepares to host the World Expo 2020,” said Saeed Humaid Al Tayer, Meydan's Chairman.
Covering 25,000 square metres, the Meydan One Mall will feature a retractable roof, measuring 150 x 80 metres, which will open in the winter months; over 300 restaurants, cafes and kiosks; and luxury retailers.
Adjacent to the mall will be an indoor ski slope, expected to be the world's longest at 1.2 km.
The Dubai One, expected to be the world's tallest residential tower, and its integrated podium will cover 350,000 square metres of gross floor area and include 885 residential apartments and a five-star hotel with 350 rooms.
It will also feature a conference centre, a 655-metre high observation deck, a 675-metre high restaurant, as well as the Meydan One Marina Yacht Club.
The project will also include an indoor multi-purpose sport facility measuring 25,000 square metres; over 5.3km of bicycle and jogging trails, and a 9km boardwalk.
Additionally, the project will include a dancing fountain, expected to be the world's largest at more than 420 metres in length; a 300-metre long beach; a civic plaza that is expected to welcome 60,000 people, and a heritage village.
Meydan One is expected to accommodate more than 78,300 residents.
At the base of the ski slope will be the Meydan Arena, which can seat up to 8,000 people. It will host sporting events, live concerts and theatrical shows. Some of the outdoor sport options include football pitches, mountain biking, walking and running trails, a skateboard park and a BMX park.
Also, the multi-purpose sports facility will offer a range of sports including tennis, football, basketball, volleyball, squash, indoor cricket, mixed martial arts, softball, a baseball batting cage, lacrosse, golf and hockey. – Gulf News -


Dubai’s public beaches listed among top beaches worldwide
posted on 27/07/2015

Public beaches in Dubai were listed among the top 10 in cities popular among tourists by a UK daily newspaper.
The Telegraph listed Dubai's public beaches among the most popular worldwide along with other beaches in cities like Paris, Sydney, Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Barcelona, Athens, Los Angeles, and Cape Town.
The selection reflects the considerable efforts made by Dubai Municipality in the management and development of public beaches, said Alia Abdul Rahim Al Harmoudi, Director of Environment Department at Dubai Municipality, who described Dubai's beaches as one of the most important landmarks in the emirate visited by thousands of residents and tourists throughout the year.
Alia revealed that Dubai Government has spent nearly Dh200 million over the past three years to develop Dubai's public beaches starting from Al Mamzar Creek to Dubai Marina. She said the best facilities and services available at these beaches is what placed them in the top 10 list.
Alia mentioned that the municipality is currently working on accrediting most of Dubai's public open beaches under an international programme by the UN.
"The effort and interest in improving the services in all the beaches has helped in the nomination of Dubai for the global accreditation,” she said.
The municipality, she said, is also working on strengthening the safety and rescue services in all the open beaches in the emirate and improving the quality of the coastal environment by launching educational campaigns on how to protect the environment and how to stay safe when visiting beaches.
Alia added that Dubai Municipality is keen on equipping Dubai's public beaches with the best attractions to keep families entertained such as the Smart Palm project which is now providing visitors free internet access at beaches. – Gulf News -


Capital's beach to get world-class facilities
posted on 27/07/2015

The Abu Dhabi City Municipality is upgrading its Al Bateen Beach in order to raise the standard of beach facilities used by visitors and residents of the emirate.
The municipality has released a public tender inviting bidders to submit proposals for upgrading the project - that comprises the Ladies Beach, Open Beach, and the Walk. Last date to submit their bids is September 15.
The project features a creative style for upgrading the Ladies Beach, as well as the Open Beach, with the addition of a stunning Walk at the waterfront. The move seeks to make the beach a vibrant recreational spot for residents and visitors of Abu Dhabi Island.
There will be new facilities with key water attractions and businesses, such as restaurants, cafes and retail outlets in an area spanning 6,062 square metres.
The project will be undertaken in collaboration with the private sector, where developers will finance and develop the project and in return will be entitled to benefit from the use of the municipality's lands through an agreement (Musataha), following which ownership of the project will devolve upon the Abu Dhabi City Municipality.
The community-oriented service project is a further illustration of the ongoing public-private partnership model.
The overall objective of the project is to offer multiple recreational options at world-class standards matching the aspirations of Abu Dhabi and its residents for prosperity, integrated life experience, as well as modern and sustainable services.
Al Bateen Beach and Walk project, which is located in Al Bateen residential district of Abu Dhabi city, is aimed at revamping the beach which had been partly upgraded and opened. – Khaleej Times -


Emaar Malls’ Q2 net rises over 40 per cent
posted on 23/07/2015

Emaar Malls Group, owned by Emaar Properties, registered a second quarter net profit of Dh412 million, a 43 per cent jump.
Revenue in the quarter to June jumped 11 per cent to be at Dh727 million, compared to Dh653 million in the same period last year, the company said in a statement.
During the six months to June, Emaar Malls recorded a 37 per cent growth in net profit Dh845 million. Revenue for half-year of 2015 was Dh1.462 billion, up 16 per cent higher compared to the same period last year.
Tenant sales across all Emaar Malls assets were Dh9.6 billion, which was almost similar to last year retail sales performance. Base rent renewal rates recorded a significant increase of 30 per cent for leases renewed during first half 2015 across all its malls and retail assets. Overall GLA (gross leasable area) occupancy across Emaar Malls assets increased to 96 per cent.
"We are committed to creating long-term value to Dubai's economy through our expansion plans and our emphasis on providing value-added lifestyle experiences to the mall visitors,” Mohammad Al Abbar, Chairman of Emaar Malls, said in a statement.
"A key contributor to the recurring revenues of Emaar Properties, our shopping malls and retail business is also setting international benchmarks in the industry. This is highlighted by the robust footfall and tenant sales at The Dubai Mall, our flagship asset,” he added.
With a total GLA of about 6 million sq. ft., Emaar Malls has GLA occupancy rate of 96 per cent. Emaar Malls is expanding The Dubai Mall's Fashion Avenue, which brings the largest number of high-end international fashion brands under one roof, by one million sq. ft. built up area to welcome a larger assortment of leading fashion brands.
The leasable area, through this expansion, is about 15 per cent of the current mall and is expected to be completed in 2016. Other assets under Emaar Malls include Dubai Marina Mall, Souk Al Bahar and Gold & Diamond Park, as well as community shopping centres. – Gulf News -


Dubai retailers enjoy Eid sales surge, high footfall
posted on 18/07/2015

With the 'Eid in Dubai - Eid Al Fitr' celebrations in full swing, Dubai's retailers have been witnessing a boost in sales, with some of them anticipating a double-digit growth during the citywide festivities which ends on Wednesday.
Besides the opportunity to choose from a line-up of events, entertainment and attractions during Eid in Dubai, residents and visitors can also pick up offers and discounts across the fashion, cosmetics and furniture sectors.
The jump in retail sales during 'Eid in Dubai' comes at a time when malls and souqs across Dubai have launched special offers and promotions, including the Eidiyat Dubai promotion, offering shoppers spending Dh200 at participating malls a chance to win Dh1.5 million in prizes.
'Eid in Dubai - Eid Al Fitr' is organised by Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM). DFRE's Media Centre spoke to some fashion and lifestyle retailers to understand how they have been faring so far during the Eid season.
"The retail sector is expecting a huge increase in footfall, especially since families from the GCC countries are converging in the country to celebrate Eid. And we are expecting more than 10 per cent growth in sales during Eid," said Ismail Al Fahim, group commercial manager of Paris Gallery.
"Perfumes have always been the best performing segment during Eid as they are more suitable for gifting compared to cosmetics. However, the cosmetics segment also will do well during this time as brands roll out many offers for female customers who often make huge purchases during this time," Al Fahim added.
Pallavi Bhatia, business head of Label 24, said: "Since Ramadan falls in summer, most customers prefer shopping before the start of the holy month. We have people from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar coming to Dubai for shopping. There is an increase of 40 to 50 per cent sales during the period before Ramadan. As usual, the first few days of Ramadan were slow, but sales again picked up during the last 10 days before Eid as shoppers plan for the festivities ahead." – Khaleej Times -



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