05/12/2018 07:39 AST

The Department of Economic Development (DED) and Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), have jointly announced the 2019 Retail Calendar showcasing 18 events over 247 days, versus 12 events over 178 days in 2018.

Featuring even more city-wide events, activations and experiences throughout 2019, the calendar is strategically catered to provide active stimulus to resident and tourist consumer spend on shopping throughout the forthcoming year.

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 Dh128.45 billion ($35 billion) sector that is projected to grow a further 5.6 per cent from 2018, to reach Dh160.7 billion ($43.7 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.

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.”

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,” he added.

The 2019 edition is set to launch on December 26, 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.

Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of Dubai Tourism, said: “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.


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