2019 RETAIL CALENDAR AIMS TO ACCELERATE RETAIL SECTOR GROWTH AND ECONOMIC CONTRIBUTION

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  • Increased investment in retail sector strategically poised to further boost consumer spend across product categories for higher GDP impact
  • 2019 Retail Calendar features 50% increase in number of events and 38% more days to effectively activate category-relevant sales and promotions
  • Targeted incentives designed to prioritise growth and involvement of SMEs, stimulating opportunities for greater industry participation

 The Department of Economic Development (DED) and Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), jointly announced the 2019 Retail Calendar – strategically catered to provide active stimulus to resident and tourist consumer spend on shopping throughout the forthcoming year. Featuring even more city-wide events, activations and experiences throughout 2019, the calendar showcases 18 events over 247 days, versus 12 events over 178 days in 2018, greatly amplifying opportunities for retailer involvement across a broader and diversified range of product categories and brand segments. Additionally, aimed at prioritising wider and inclusive sector participation thereby extending the economic benefits of the initiative to a wider base, the 2019 Retail Calendar offers a reduction in fees for all small and medium enterprises to enable dynamic adaptation to the ongoing disruptions impacting retail, whilst retaining competitiveness in the global environment.

The Retail Calendar is reflective of strong and successful collaboration between both government departments (DED and DFRE), and the private sector, developed with significant input from 18 major retail and mall groups in Dubai, to create relevant activations that highlight the diversity and competitiveness of Dubai’s retail value proposition through a series of festivals and events suitably synchronised with the global and domestic retail and fashion cycles. The year-long Retail Calendar will assure Dubai’s continued international standing as a must-visit shopping destination, enabling growth of the  AED 128.45 billion sector that is projected to grow a further 5.6 per cent from 2018, to reach AED 160.7 billion by 2021*. The 2019 initiative, now in its third year of operations, will play a particularly crucial role in (i) ensuring acceleration across Dubai’s retail economy; (ii) supporting greater SME contribution; and (iii) enabling boost profitability with an increase in spend from both residents and tourists, propelled by a tactical schedule of sales and promotional shopping campaigns.

As a key pillar in Dubai’s destination offering, the health and sustained development of Dubai’s retail sector has a consequential impact on tourist experience and attraction, in addition to the direct economic contribution of the sector itself. Considerable progress has been made since the inception of the Retail Calendar in 2016-2017 to deliver critically enabling regulations, core infrastructure projects, and city-wide service enhancements, fine-tuned to meet market and segment priorities across tourist points of interaction with destination retail. Through 2018, the number of international brands available in Dubai has continued to rise as has the portfolio of retail outlets and experience options, addressing a wider and more globally connected consumer, ultimately increasing the attractiveness of the emirate as a shopping destination.

His Excellency Sami Al Qamzi, Director General, Department of Economic Development (DED) commented: “The retail sector is a key contributor to Dubai’s thriving economy and makes up a considerable volume of the emirate’s GDP. We are committed to consolidating efforts across Dubai to offer exceptional and high quality experiences in terms of infrastructure, initiatives and incentives in collaboration with the public and private sector, to continue to boost the retail industry. The DED, in collaboration with Dubai Tourism, will continue to build on Dubai’s already successful position as a favourable shopping destination, and provide fledgling SMEs with the opportunity to grow their companies here within the emirate.”

“It is our key priority to enhance greater competitiveness of the retail industry in Dubai, while ensuring a healthy bottom line for all participants to sustain growth. Combining retail with events and promotions has allowed us to streamline various activations across the year, to accelerate the success of Dubai’s retail model, whilst allowing us to collectively focus on increasing the GDP contribution of the sector to Dubai.”

His Excellency Helal Almarri, Director General of the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) said: “Dubai has been continually growing as a leader in global travel, with the highest average spend per tourist and ranked fourth most visited city in the world, according to the latest MasterCard surveys. As one of the core pillars of our destination offering, the retail sector is a high priority for Dubai Tourism – in addition to increasing the number of international visitors to the emirate, we are also focused on significantly enhancing the economic value created (across all travel related industries) to our GDP. The strategic revisions made to the 2019 Retail Calendar mark a significant investment from Dubai Tourism to further enhance the wider domestic economy, and represent our continued commitment to making Dubai a leading retail destination and increasing overall spend per visitor.

We’ve already seen great success with events such as Chinese New Year and Diwali, aimed at two of our top source markets and building on this, we’ve added ‘Russian Holiday’ during Dubai Shopping Festival in January 2019 timed with their peak travel to leverage growing Russian traffic to Dubai and their affinity for shopping. Our strong continued collaboration with DED and the industry, has been a critical enabler to the creation of this strategically aligned programme for 2019, that will strengthen the foundations for even greater acceleration towards 2022 and beyond, particularly in attracting more shopping enthusiasts to spend more within our economy.”

The 2019 edition is set to launch on 26 December 2018, the opening day of the Dubai Shopping Festival which this year has been extended for a further full week based on feedback from retailers. The 2019 Retail Calendar will showcase the annual schedule of anchor retail activities being conducted and promoted at a city-level including shopping-related festivals, promotions and seasonal offer periods, mega-sales and clearance events and exclusive retail experiences and activations.

Included in the 2019 Retail Calendar will be the following festivals and events: Dubai Shopping Festival, Russian Holidays, Dubai Shopping Festival Final Sale, Chinese New Year, Dubai Food Festival, Spring/Summer ‘19 Collection Launch, Home Festival, Ramadan in Dubai, Eid in Dubai (x2), Dubai Summer Surprises, Dubai Summer Surprises Final Sale, Back to School Season, Fall/Winter ‘19 Collection Launch, Diwali, Dubai Fitness Challenge, 3-Day Super Sale (x2) and Gifting Weekend.

The 2019 Retail Calendar has been developed in close partnership with 18 major retail partners who continue to contribute to the growth of the sector and the GDP of Dubai.

Mohammad A. Baker, Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Gulf Marketing Group comments: “We boast a diverse portfolio of retail outlets and brands within our family-owned company and support strategic initiatives to enhance Dubai’s retail sector. We are proud to work with such innovative partners to help accelerate Dubai’s ambitious retail growth and look forward to a strong sales year underpinned by the Retail Calendar.”

Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, Chief Executive Officer of Emaar Malls, says: “With a gross leasable area of over 6.7 million square feet in Dubai, Emaar Mall Group assets include not only the iconic The Dubai Mall, but also Dubai Marina Mall, Souk Al Bahar and Gold & Diamond Park. With such an extensive portfolio, it’s crucial for us to work in close partnership with Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment to create exciting events and promotions that attract our local customers as well as international tourists. The new developments for the Retail Calendar are welcomed by our entire group and we know this will present further opportunities for synergies between the government and private sector, which will benefit all levels of the retail sector from SMEs through to global brands.”

Patrick Chalhoub, co-CEO of the Chalhoub Group, comments: The strategic direction of Dubai’s Retail Calendar has allowed for distributors and retailers of luxury fashion to be aligned with global trends, shifting the vision from being a traditional company to a more agile organisation constantly responding to customers’ needs, and as a result driving footfall and overall expenditure. We supported greatly the addition of Holiday Seasons of different countries in order to increasingly cater the Western European, Russian and Chinese residents and inbound visitors looking for high-end, luxury items.”

Renuka Jagtiani, Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer of Landmark Group, says: “With over 50 brands within the Landmark Group, from homegrown retail concepts to international offerings, new and additional Retail Calendar Event initiatives are welcome developments. We will leverage the new Home Festival through our own brands Home Centre and Home Box, activating an enriched programme of customer events and experiences in support of this new development.”

Shuja Jashanmal, Director and Partner of Jashanmal Group, says: “The commitment and long-term vision of Dubai’s senior leaders has resulted in mutually beneficial and long-lasting relationships with our valuable clients and international business partners. Through the implementation of successful initiatives, the Retail Calendar has allowed Dubai’s burgeoning retail industry to continue to thrive and for us to live up to our commitment of delivering success through our own retail operations. In particular, the addition of Home Festival will provide a great platform to offer fantastic savings on interiors products, as well as boost the overall homeware retail category.”

 Omar Khoory, Managing Director of Nakheel Malls, says: “Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment’s efforts to diversify and evolve the retail landscape in Dubai are aligned with our own objectives at Nakheel Malls. We look forward to more collaborations as we expand our malls portfolio, with exciting new shopping and leisure destinations such as The Pointe and Nakheel Mall, both located on the iconic Palm Jumeirah, complementing our existing, highly-popular destinations such as Dragon Mart and Ibn Battuta Mall.  We are proud to be a partner of the Retail Calendar and are busy setting out our strategy for 2019 in order to realise the full potential of our growing range of retail and entertainment destinations.”

Fuad Mansoor Sharaf, Managing Director of Majid Al Futtaim Properties, Shopping Malls (UAE, Bahrain and Oman) says: “We fully support the vision of our industry partners at Dubai Tourism and are unified in our goal of making Dubai a leading shopping destination. In line with our aim to revolutionise the retail sector, we welcome an extended Retail Calendar and will leverage the additional events to create world-class in-mall entertainment to attract residents and visitors alike.”

 Mustafa Moussa, Chief Marketing Officer at AlFuttaim Group says: “Thousands of shoppers have been attracted to Al-Futtaim’s roster of high caliber international brands, from home furnishing stores like IKEA and ACE hardware to fashion and department stores like Marks & Spencer and Robinsons. Our flagship retail destination, Dubai Festival City Mall has witnessed a great deal of growth in visitation and spend thanks to the innovative Retail Calendar proposition. Further, we continue to evolve our offering and now provide families an exceptional ‘retailtainment’ experience, from IMAGINE, our World record breaking water, laser and light show, to sought-after dining options at Dubai Festival City Mall. We remain steadfast in our commitment towards Dubai’s growing retail and tourism ambitions for 2020 and beyond.”

Ian Toal, President, Food at Alshaya Group, comments: “We are delighted to see the hugely popular Dubai Food Festival confirmed as a key event in Dubai’s annual Retail Calendar. We are pleased to be part of Dubai’s rich gastronomy scene and look forward to participating in the Festival by bringing an exciting range of events and food offers to residents and visitors alike across our wide range of culinary offerings.”

Nilesh Ved, Chairman of Apparel Group, says: “We have more than 1,750 stores and 75 brands across our retail portfolio and the Retail Calendar is a key driver in helping us sustain our strong retail sales. We share a joint ambition with our industry partners to attract visitors worldwide and will continue to support Dubai Tourism’s vision to make Dubai a premiere shopping location.”

Sally Yacoub, Chief Malls Officer of Meraas Holding, says: “Meraas operates a unique portfolio of destinations that include La Mer, Al Seef, City Walk, Bluewaters, The Beach, Boxpark and The Outlet Village. Our destinations boast a diverse range of shopping and lifestyle experiences and appeal to the whole family and all age groups. Our objective is to create value-added events and activities to help drive sales and support overall retail tourism. Dubai is a premiere global shopping hub and through the sales, promotions and celebrations of the Retail Calendar, we will continue to offer incredible experiences along with competitive offers to support the economy.”

Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of Dubai Tourism, comments: “We are constantly looking for ways in which to support and promote the retail sector within Dubai; from large retailers and mega global brands, to the smaller high-potential SME segment. Following detailed analyses and close coordination with our strategic retail partners, we have introduced noteworthy changes to the new Retail Calendar, and are confident in its ability to impact continued positive and sustained sector growth across Dubai. We have worked with DED to design special incentive specifically for enabling startups and SMEs within retail to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Retail Calendar, through significant reduction in participation costs.

Additionally, we have collaborated with all of our partners and key stakeholders to address industry needs in the design of the new detailed programme, to include even more retail events and promotions, ensuring Dubai stays at the forefront of global retail destinations, as well as being able to offer our partners increased opportunities to amplify their offerings. Some examples include new ‘Home Festival’, as well as promotions across all homeware, home appliances and furniture, the event will draw inspiration from the popularity of home makeovers, and will encourage architects, interior designers and self-made decorators to enhance client and own homes and working environments with eye-catching and state-of-the-art, yet affordable styles. Some of the city’s most popular existing non-retail events will also be enhanced to involve the retail sector, such as Dubai Food Festival, the annual celebration of Dubai’s gastronomy scene, which in 2019 will feature additional layers of promotions and offers on related product categories thereby creating natural synergies across both industries and driving spend collectively.”

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