Dubai shoppers still spending?

Malls chief determined to keep the tills ringing.

The new chairman of Dubai Shopping Malls Group (DSMG) has pledged to build on the emirate's image as a world class shopping destination amid the global credit crunch.

Majid Saif al-Ghurair, whose group owns the Burjuman Shopping Mall, said: "The retail sector is a major driving force behind the distinguished trade position that Dubai now holds.

"Since its establishment in 1998, the DSMG has been keen to combine all its efforts and initiatives to enhancing the competitive edge of the emirate not only on a regional level but globally as well."

The 37-member DSMG was established in 1998 to support the Dubai Summer Surprises in its inaugural edition.

Since then, it has been working to co-ordinate marketing initiatives and provide better quality services to visiting shoppers in all the emirate's malls.

Ghurair said that the challenge in 2009 was to maintain the momentum in Dubai following previous "quantum leaps" in the retail market.

He said: "Over the past years, Dubai has made quantum leaps in the retail trade by setting up world-class shopping malls featuring international brands. This has transformed Dubai into a sought-after global shopping destination, where shopping is truly a unique experience.

"The coming period entails maximised efforts to maintain the gains attained in the past and secure further momentum for the retail trade sector."

Last month, Simon Thomson, a UK-based retail consultant who has worked with some of the region’s biggest malls, told Arabian Business tourists and middle income earners will be spending less in Dubai’s malls in 2009.

“Much of the mall retailing, especially in Dubai, has been predicated on tourism and not only that, but on swelling numbers year on year. International tourism is likely to be one of the casualties of disposable income as job security becomes less certain," he said.

"The collapse of the UK pound against the dollar and euro will also reduce the number of tourists from the UK."

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