Retail therapy?

Malls need to offer 'escapism' from economic gloom.

Malls should be a place where people go to escape the economic gloom, one of Dubai’s leading branding experts has said.

Shopping centres may not be the first place credit-struck consumers turn to in the midst of an economic slowdown, but some retail therapy could also serve as escapism when times are hard.

That is the message mall operators need to emphasise next year, according to Michael Hughes, executive director of strategy at The Brand Union Middle East. “Going into 2009, malls will need to give people a reason to go there.

So they might need to think beyond just what shops they’ve got there and more about the experience,” he said.

“It could be that they provide a certain sense of escapism. You tend to find that in times of hardship, people still need that.”

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