The country's retail sector will continue to grow in the fourth quarter at a time when the industry is standing still or contracting elsewhere.
The country was ranked the fifth most attractive retail market in the world among emerging economies in a study earlier this year by AT Kearney, climbing two places from the last time the list was complied.
"The UAE continues to shine and it shines because firstly GDP grew 5 to 6 per cent. Retail represents a third of GDP in this country, so it's a sizeable element of overall growth," said Farhan Mirza, principal at AT Kearney Middle East, who addressed the InRetail Summit in Dubai yesterday on the state of the sector.
"One of the reasons also driving growth is competition. Competition is increasing and retailers have to respond to that challenge," he said in an interview.
The UAE benefits from the fact that it is not only a global tourist destination, but a regional shopping hub.
"Given some of the difficulties in surrounding countries as well, you are finding a lot of regional tourism coming to this area, attracted to the luxury products, some of the high-end concepts that are available. It's a destination of choice and I think that will continue and that will be reflected in the rankings. I am confident for next year," he said.
But could it climb again?
"We would have to run the numbers. I can't commit us to where it will be but certainly we don't expect it to be dropping places. All the factors are favourable and continue to look good."