Tom Miles: “We are expecting a 30 per cent sales increase through DSF 2008.”
Dubai Festival City, a flagship project of the Al Futtaim Group that is a key sponsor of DSF 2008, is a shopping haven for visitors to Dubai and an architecture marvel by itself. The shopping and tourist expanse was venue to some of the biggest attractions this DSF including the DSF 2008 opening ceremony and the Carlos Santana concert.
Tom Miles, Senior General Manager – Retail, Dubai Festival City spoke about the participation in Dubai Shopping Festival 2008, their expectations and plans for the this DSF and its future editions.
What has been the average footfall in Dubai Festival City since the beginning of DSF 2008 (during the three weeks of the festival and on weekends)?
The footfall has been tremendous during the DSF. On an average it has been about 25 to 30 per cent higher than ordinary months, and this figure climbs to about 50 per cent higher on weekends. We are extremely happy with the proceedings of the shopping festival so far and are hoping to see even more footfall in the last days of DSF 2008. We hosted the opening ceremony of the DSF with spectacular lighting, fireworks and an array of events and entertainment programmes. The events have been a regular feature throughout the festival and have been successful in drawing crowds in large numbers. We are yet to break the 100,000 mark on a Friday though but hope to achieve it soon.
What percentage increase in revenue have you observed during this DSF?
We haven’t arrived at the sales figures yet which will happen once the festival gets over, but the trend looks very positive and we expect the sales revenues to be higher than the ordinary months. In fact, the trend has been extremely positive since December last year. We witnessed brisk sales during Eid and Christmas and there was a trickle down effect during January as well. That trend has continued into February as well. The good weather is attracting a lot of tourists from around the world to Dubai and Dubai Festival City is an ideal venue to spend quality time with family and friends. Our restaurants seem to be doing extremely well and the waterfront concept has caught on very well with all visitors.
What are the projected figures of sales during the festival?
We are looking for sales revenues to follow the footfall figures. Something to the tune of a 30 per cent increase should be good this DSF. We are looking at converting the footfall figures into tangible financial figures with good returns on sales.
What are the offerings this season for the DSF visitors?
Our objective is to provide visitors with not just shopping, but a whole package of leisure and recreation along with it. Our stores cater to a wide cross-section of shoppers coming from diverse backgrounds. While we would like Dubai Festival City to be a must-visit destination on the tourist’s itinerary, we have enticing offers to attract the residents. We cater to everyone from those looking for shopping for top brands to those who might just like to relax with some good food and coffee. In fact, our restaurants have been doing exceptionally well during DSF and we are hoping to continue the trend in the coming months. We also have a wi-fi zone and the best electronics and computer stores to cater to all technological needs. We offer a diverse mix to cater to people across the board. Enticing discounts at most of our stores are a big draw for shoppers and most of these offers are absolutely hard to resist.
The Festival City events include acrobatics, juggling and live music shows. Roaming artists parade the mall with their acts and stunts. Made up in colourful masks are mimes and living statues that might catch you by surprise at Canal Walk or Festival Square. Stilt walkers walking tall are also another attraction at the venue. All these performers welcome guests and entertain them as they shop and browse through the shops. The performers have been invited from around the world to entertain the mall visitors this DSF. In addition to these, there are prizes to be won. Our stores are offering raffles and promotions to encourage the shoppers to loosen their purse strings during the festival.
Our theme this year is a Festival of Colours and the visitors can see colours splashed around all over the mall. The Santana Concert was a major draw this time around. Held on February 15, it was a resounding success drawing crowds in huge numbers. The jazz Festival is coming up as are other events lined up for the forthcoming weeks.
Which stores in the mall have gained the most from the DSF in terms of popularity and sales? What are the best-selling items during DSF and what are the fastest-moving ones?
Electronics, computers and i-pods are the fastest moving items this season. Our computer store I Style, selling Mac and Apple products, is doing brisk business as there’s quite a lot of demand for these goods. Hyperpanda, the hypermarket in the mall is also doing quite well. Its performance has been on a steady rise for the past several months with DSF further boosting the sales.
With so many new malls in town and so many more coming up do you see more competition for Festival City? How has the mall managed to maintain its position as one of the leading shopping destinations in town?
Competition is very good and at the end of the day the consumer benefits. It is going to get bigger here with even more malls coming up and more retail space being added. As retailers, we need to get aggressive in our marketing and of course, the quality that we offer has to be world class to sustain shopper interest in the market. Competition among retailers raises the bar for quality but it’s a challenge that keeps us stimulated to deliver the best. Dubai Festival City is a wonderful location offering something for everybody. Shopping here comes with the added advantage of quality entertainment, leisure facilities and fine food.
Would you say that the DSF has helped business in Festival City? Where do you go from here? What are the plans for the upcoming DSS and DSF 2009?
Yes, most definitely. DSF has helped in the popularity of Dubai Festival City. It is an excellent vehicle to promote our property and reach out to a greater number of people to offer them a wholesome shopping and leisure experience.
In the future, we plan to continue our association with DSF. We are looking at participating in the Dubai Summer Surprises with a bigger role to play. We see a bright future ahead as far as festivals in the emirate go. We are working towards making this edition better than last years and the trend will continue. We have an array of our own events which are held from time to time as well as the ones held in association with DSF and DSS. Events are a year-round feature for Dubai Festival City and it makes sense to offer them during major retails events like the DSF.