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The lure of Dubai’s malls
Malls are some of Dubai's biggest attractions. But do they continue to attract tourists and residents like they used to, in spite of the financial crisis?
July 11, 2009 8:37 by Dana El Baltaji
Apparently not. Footfalls in malls throughout Dubai are on the rise. Mall of the Emirates recorded over 100,000 visitors on the opening day of the Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) 2009 (June 11), Al Bawada reported in June.
The 12-hour opening ceremony was the lengthiest in DSS’ 12-year history.
“The ambience at the mall was simply superb,” Fuad Sharaf, vice president, Mall of the Emirates, said. “There were surprises and activities being announced every hour and our footfall figures were up by about 20 percent from our average weekend traffic, with a corresponding increase in sales,” he added.
Similarly, Nakheel reported a rise in footfall in its malls, claiming it recorded a 20 percent increase in visitors during the first five months of 2009 compared with the same period in 2008.
“Footfall at Ibn Battuta increased by about 5 percent, while Dragon Mart saw a rise of 20 percent,” David Thurling, managing director, Nakheel Retail Shopping Malls, told Emirates Business.
“This is exceptional in light of current market conditions. Footfall was slightly down in early June and we believe this was largely due to people holding back on retail expenditure until the Dubai Summer Surprises sales were in full swing.”
Exceptional indeed, but not surprising. The financial crisis may have succeeded in scaremongering consumers into believing every dirham spent is a dirham lost, but crisis or not, consumers continue to require entertainment.