x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Surprise record sales for Majid Al Futtaim

The Dubai Summer Surprises festival this year was the best ever for Majid Al Futtaim Properties, the biggest operator of shopping malls in the UAE.

The Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment the Dubai Summer Surprises festival, which ran from June 14 until July 14 this year, provided an additional boost to the emirate's economy of about Dh16 billion. Sarah Dea / The National
The Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment the Dubai Summer Surprises festival, which ran from June 14 until July 14 this year, provided an additional boost to the emirate's economy of about Dh16 billion. Sarah Dea / The National

The Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) festival this year was the best ever for Majid Al Futtaim Properties, the biggest operator of shopping malls in the UAE.

A booming tourism market, growing consumer confidence and a number of mall events meant 10 per cent more people walked through the doors of Mall of the Emirates, Deira City Centre and Mirdif City Centre, which Majid Al Futtaim (Maf) operates, during the month-long festival. DSS ran from June 14 until July 14 this year.

"It was one of the greatest months that we have ever had, especially compared to last year and the previous month," said Fuad Sharaf, the senior asset director for Maf Properties. "When you talk about Dubai as a city, I would say it's the city of excellence from all aspects."

The Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment (Depe) says that events such as DSS and Dubai Shopping Festival each provides a boost of about Dh16 billion (US$4.35bn) to the emirate's economy.

Official figures are not available yet for DSS but at the halfway stage of the festival it reported a rise in business of as much as 20 per cent across retail, hospitality, air travel and money-exchange establishments.

"We certainly have noticed the increased influx of shoppers and visitors to Dubai during this DSS," said Laila Suhail, the chief executive of Depe.

"However, Ramadan will be different from any other month of the year as it has its own mood and rituals and it might affect the number of regional shoppers."

Maf has a total retail area of more than 800,000 square metres across the region. It has six malls in the UAE, two in Egypt, two in Oman and one in Bahrain.

Alongside Maf, retailers also reported robust sales during the festival month.

"Most mall-based outlets did well," said Ashish Panjabi, the chef operating officer at Jacky's Electronics. "We registered good growth in both Mall of the Emirates and Deira City Centre."

He said Dubai Mall continued to do well, but some customers had gone to other shopping centres because the UAE's biggest mall was undergoing refurbishments.

"Our outlets in the Northern Emirates also performed well this DSS," added Mr Panjabi.

The retail and hospitality industries are widely regarded as two of the fastest-growing sectors in the UAE as tourists continue to flood into the country.

In the first half of this year, Dubai added 850 branded hotel rooms in the city, according to the property specialist Jones Lang Lasalle. An additional 4,500 guest rooms are expected to be completed before the end of the year.

rjones@thenational.ae