A Christmas shopping trip to remember!

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For many of us nowadays, Christmas shopping and credit cards seem to go hand in hand. You almost can’t shop without them. The truth is, however, it’s become a bit of a ritual, just like the tree, mistletoe, tinsel decorations, lights and, of course, Santa . So why not break the routine? What about combining Christmas shopping with a winter break and a visit to the incredible city and emirate of Dubai, the largest metropolis in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the Persian Gulf? After all, it’s home to the largest shopping mall in the world. Now that would be a shopping trip to remember!

The Dubai Mall, often dubbed the premier lifestyle and entertainment destination not only in the Middle East, but across the world, too, spoils the visitor like no other mall. The choice on offer to both serious shopper and curious visitor alike is quite simply staggering. The brainchild of global property developer Emaar Properties PJSC, Dubai Mall was only opened a mere five years ago.

Since then it has grown in scope and scale into the world’s most visited shopping and lifestyle destination, according to an Emaar Properties spokesman quoted in the English-language daily newspaper The National, having welcomed more than 65 million visitors last year, and more than 55 million visitors in the first nine months of this year. These are the sorts of figures most of us have difficulty grasping.

It’s only a shopping mall, right?

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That’s surely one way of looking at it. But the complex, covering more than 12 million square feet, offers an unparalleled retail mix combined with world-class dining, entertainment and leisure attractions that takes the simple concept of shopping to a whole new level. It really is a shopper’s paradise, featuring no less than 1,200 retail outlets, two anchor department stores, a 220-store Gold Souk and more than 160 food and beverage outlets. Add to all of that an aquarium and underwater zoo, a 22-screen cinema extravaganza, an Olympic-size ice rink and an indoor theme park ideal for adrenaline seekers. Shopping and Christmas may never feel quite the same again after a visit to the Dubai Mall.

More on the way

Yes, that’s right. According to the highly respected Oxford Business Group (OBG), a global publishing, research and consultancy firm, rising demand and a recovering economy are driving growth in Dubai’s retail sector, with a sharp increase in new mall space suggesting the emirate is beginning to shake off the doldrums caused by the global downturn.

Over the past decade, says the firm, Dubai has become the Middle East’s chief retail centre. However, expansion has slowed, and there has not been a significant increase in mall-based retail space during the past three years, a reflection of the weaker economic climate following the downturn of 2009. This had a decided impact on the sector, with many shops closing their doors or scaling back operations.

The OBG says, “Now, with Dubai’s economy rebounding, projects previously put on hold have been reactivated and new developments are being put into the pipeline. A recent report by property consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) said some 371,000 square metres of new retail space would be rolled out over the next two years. The flow through the development pipeline is expected to become stronger throughout the second half of the decade, as new projects are completed and some existing retail spaces expand to maintain their competitive edge.”

You can check out more from the OBG here.

Image used under creative comm licence: eGuide Travel

 

Sarah Pinkerton

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