- “17-year partnership with Dubai Summer Surprises has helped position Dubai as the perfect hub for family tourism”: Hussain Moosa, Associate Director – Property Management, Shopping Malls for Majid Al Futtaim Properties
- “AED 1 billion redevelopment project for Mall of the Emirates will set new standard in design and shopping excellence in retail landscape”: Dimitri Vazelakis, Executive Managing Director, Shopping Malls for Majid Al Futtaim Properties
An innovator in the expansion of Dubai’s retail sector, Majid Al Futtaim Properties has set a benchmark in launching retail concepts in the region, with its range of innovative projects and offerings playing a pivotal role in transforming the shopping, leisure and entertainment landscape even outside the shores of the UAE with world-class shopping malls across the Middle East and North Africa region.
In the UAE, Majid Al Futtaim Properties has three flagship shopping malls – City Centre Deira, Mall of the Emirates and City Centre Mirdif, all are home to the world’s best retail brands, and offering an extensive choice of leisure and entertainment facilities counting the world famous Ski Dubai at Mall of the Emirates. All three MAF malls have also added considerably towards the festivals structured by Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), including the current edition of Dubai Summer Surprises with the support of the longstanding partnership that Majid Al Futtaim Properties appreciates with DFRE.
As a Strategic Partner of DFRE, Majid Al Futtaim Properties, an award-winning company, has once turned out world-class events and activities during DFRE’s annual summer performance this year including gravity-defying aerial performances, a captivating balloon-bending experience, a Movie Mania musical, and Modhesh Workshops, just to mention a few. In totaling, the three MAF malls are also offering consumers many opportunities to win up to AED 1 million in prizes at numerous shopping promotions.
DFRE’s Media Centre spoke to two main figures at Majid Al Futtaim Properties – Hussain Moosa, Associate Director – Property Management, Shopping Malls for Majid Al Futtaim Properties and
Dimitri Vazelakis, Executive Managing Director, Shopping Malls for Majid Al Futtaim Properties on an extensive assortment of topics covering the company’s constant association with the DFRE and DSS, its development and Dubai’s economic viewpoint.
In his comments, Hussain Moosa noted that the 17-year partnership with DSS has helped promote Dubai as the summer tourism destination of choice for families and also helped position Mall of the Emirates, City Centre Deira and City Centre Mirdif as the ultimate family destinations during DSS.
For his part, Dimitri Vazelakis said that the AED 1 billion redevelopment project for Mall of the Emirates is set to redefine the standards in design and shopping excellence in the retail industry as evident by the Fashion District, a component of the project that was opened earlier this year, and which has created a stylish new landmark in Dubai.
Excerpts of the interview with Hussain Moosa, Associate Director – Property Management, Shopping Malls for Majid Al Futtaim Properties
How many years have you been partnering with DFRE? And what are your strategic objectives from this partnership?
Majid Al Futtaim, the leading shopping mall, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East and North Africa, renewed its strategic partnership with the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE). Specifically for Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS), Majid Al Futtaim has been a partner of the festival for 17 years now.
As part of our strategy, Majid Al Futtaim reinforces the Dubai Government’s directives to promote the Emirate as the perfect hub for families and tourists alike to enjoy summer in Dubai, whilst positioning Mall of the Emirates, City Centre Deira and City Centre Mirdif as the ultimate family destination this DSS.
In your opinion, how did DFRE festivals evolve over the years in general and DSS in particular?
As a Strategic Partner, we have been working closely with the DFRE to support the various marketing and communications strategies for Government-led festivals.
Dubai Summer Surprises has grown from strength to strength, resulting in showcasing the world the best of Dubai has to offer. The festival’s success demonstrates the cooperation and harmonious relationship of the Dubai Government with all the stakeholders. Both have been instrumental in presenting both residents and tourists with world-class entertainment suitable for the whole family, shopping deals and extraordinary prizes.
What mall initiatives and activities have you planned this DSS to increase footfall?
In line with Majid Al Futtaim’s vision to create great moments for everyone, every day, City Centre Deira, City Centre Mirdif and Mall of the Emirates present captivating family entertainment with unbeatable deals and promotions. The eventful five-week program, which started on July 28 and will last until September 5, is filled with great prizes, interactive stage shows and unique musical performances, including some special guests.
This year, Majid Al Futtaim will grant someone’s wish – an unforgettable memory that will always be cherished by the lucky shopper. We always strive to entice shoppers through our fantastic giveaways and chances to make someone’s dream wish come true.
With prizes worth AED 1,000,000 to be given away, Majid Al Futtaim is inviting residents and tourists to join us for the summer fun. Mall shoppers will have the chance to win their dream wish prize this summer. Shoppers who accumulate AED 450 worth of shopping at any of the stores within City Centre Deira, City Centre Mirdif and Mall of the Emirates will be entitled in a raffle draw to win gift vouchers worth AED 1,000,000. The lucky winner may spend these vouchers and buy anything he/she wants at any of the Majid Al Futtaim shopping malls in Dubai.
In addition, our social media followers can also participate in the summer fun by creating a wish list from the malls’ Facebook app. Fans can then share it on social networking sites for a chance to win and make their dream come true. Please check out the malls’ official Facebook pages for more details.
We urge families to unite and indulge in a diversity of world class performances this DSS:
- Gravity-defying Aerial Performance
An eight-minute live exhilarating aerial acrobatics performance that will take audience to new heights as dancer spirals and spins while suspended from Mall of the Emirates’ dome ceiling and defying gravity on silk fabric. Aerial dancer performs in the beautiful melody of violin strings while hanging in the air.
- Balloon Bending Butlers
To welcome children the minute they step foot into the mall, special balloons twisted and shaped like their favourite animal will be handed to them. At the key entrances of each mall, skilled Balloon Bending Butlers will demonstrate complex techniques to make beautiful creations specially made for the young ones.
- Movie Mania Musical
A 30-minute act uncovering the perfect combination of movie and music – soundtracks that encapsulate the story line of great films. Best hits will rock the venue with non-stop classics from Hollywood to Bollywood. This musical performance is a great way to sing-a-long while reminiscing clips from favourite movies of all time.
- Modhesh Workshop
Dates: Aug 21 – 27 at Mall of the Emirates
Timings: 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm (Weekdays)
3:00 pm to 11:00 pm (Weekends)
A skills workshop to unlock children’s creativity and keep them busy while parents take advantage of unbeatable shopping deals during DSS. During the workshop, children will learn how to make musical instruments using recycled materials and pieces of art using clay and popsicle sticks. In addition, Modhesh will roam around the mall for photo opportunities.
- Musical Flash Mob
Aug 21 – 26 at Mall of the Emirates
Aug 28 – Sep 5 at City Centre Mirdif
Timings: 7:00pm – 9:00pm
A musical flash mob that will surprise diners at random times in the food court. A group of performers will show up unexpectedly to serenade mall guests with fun and creative arrangement using musical instruments.
- Sheyaab from Arabs Got Talent
Comedic act of musically-inclined trio that rose to fame in the reality show Arab’s Got Talent. Sheyaab is a three-man band formed by three talented Kuwaiti students, who appear elderly and plays various musical instruments, sings and even dance. The mysterious persona of the trio is hidden from their on-screen names: Romeo, Mirshiego and Alijandro.
- Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure Live Show
Dates/ Location: Aug 21 – 31 at City Centre Deira
Timings: 5:00 pm, 7:30 pm and 9:30pm
From the popular video game series, Skylanders will come to life in Dubai for their world premiere live show to amaze children and their families. The action-packed stage show features purple dragon Spyro and other characters that will embark on a fantastical journey to explore mythical lands and battle menacing creatures. Children can participate beyond their console and help save the characters scorned by sinister Kaos.
Excerpts of the interview with Dimitri Vazelakis, Executive Managing Director, Shopping Malls for Majid Al Futtaim Properties
How do you evaluate the retail market performance in Dubai during Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS)?
Dubai Summer Surprises is a significant contributor of Dubai’s economic and tourism aims, driving millions of people to our shopping malls for world-class shopping, dining and entertainment. The sales performance of all our tenants and the increase in footfall to our malls are key indications of how successful DSS is and why it still remains a key event in our retail calendar. Despite the warm weather, DSS has boosted visitors for the summer period.
Following a successful start to the year, there is an even greater sense of excitement now that Dubai has been further enhanced as a premium shopping destination internationally. As the pioneer of the shopping industry, Majid Al Futtaim re-iterates our commitment to ensuring delivery of our promise to create world-class events and memorable experiences for visitors from across the board.
Who are your target audiences, and how do you manage to attract them during DSS? Your strategy in achieving this?
Majid Al Futtaim shopping malls look forward to welcoming all guests locally and internationally. We are also expecting an inevitable rise in tourism, in particular from China, Russian and the Subcontinent; and we work closely with the DFRE in their campaigns to target and welcome these key audiences.
Our summer campaign was launched during Eid holidays, which complemented the theme that underscores the significance of family values and unity throughout the holidays, whilst creating great moments for everyone, every day.
Targeting families with children, we activate engaging campaigns in our malls with an exciting line up of family entertainment and unbeatable promotions, where we offer shoppers to get their dream prize.
What are the best performing store categories during DSS?
DSS is the largest summer shopping festival in the region, attracting millions of guests both locally and internationally. Across our three malls, Mall of the Emirates, City Centre Deira and City Centre Mirdif, our luxury labels tend to perform notably well in addition to our high street and contemporary fashion brands. Electronics is another high performing category, with our stores offering favourable DSS offers.
With the heat driving residents and visiting guests indoors, our leisure and entertainment facilities such as Ski Dubai, Magic Planet, VOX Cinemas and iFly Dubai have been very popular.
Dining remains a favourite pastime, and with our international portfolio of dining outlets, from casual family dining to trendy cafes, food & beverage continues to outperform during DSS.
What do you do to make your mall more attractive to international brands?
- Majid Al Futtaim has been a platform for the entry of new, international brands looking to establish themselves in the region, such as the regional flagship of Prada and the regional debut of Harvey Nichols, Christian Louboutin and Hollister.
- With the retail landscape becoming more competitive, Majid Al Futtaim’s wider strategy is to enhance our existing properties to remain relevant and create unique shopping experiences.
- In the last several years, City Centre Deira has also gone under an extensive redevelopment to modernise its facilities, further diversify its retail mix with more than 55 new brands and create a new retail corridor, connecting the mall to the Dubai Metro
- Mall of the Emirates is undergoing a multi-phase redevelopment worth AED 1 billion – called Evolution 2015 – including a new fashion district, luxury retail options, sports and leisure precincts as well as unique dining and entertainment concepts.
- In late 2013, CBRE’s retail report* stated that ‘Mid-Range’ fashion retailers entered more new markets than any other sector last year, accounting for 22% of all new openings, followed by ‘Luxury and Business Fashion’ retailers at 20%.
- This is demonstrated by the recent opening of Fashion District in Mall of the Emirates, a AED 100 investment which transformed a key retail corridor of the mall into a contemporary fashion destination.
- Mall of the Emirates offers tremendous market reach to retailers entering the MENA market, and as such, the Fashion District was a platform for several well-known designers that opened boutique stores in the UAE for the first time: McQ, Halston Heritage, Alice & Olivia, Maje, Elie Tahari, Sandro and C Wonder.
- In addition, Dubai has a well-established framework for its retail, entertainment and tourism aspirations and organisations such as the Dubai Festival and Retail Establishment – a part of the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, have since been long established to ensure Dubai is promoted as the regions’ leader.
- Through events such as DSS, we are reinforcing our leadership in the market as and a viable partner for international brands.
What are your future plans? Any plans for expansion or opening flagship stores, new brands, unique concepts, etc?
Mall of the Emirates announced an AED 1 billion investment redevelopment, called Evolution 2015. This is the largest redevelopment project Mall of the Emirates has embarked on to-date, and will set a new standard of design and shopping excellence for the retail landscape. Phase 1 of Evolution 2015 was completed earlier this year, with the unveiling of the Fashion District, – a new, AED 100 million fashion district that has introduced some first-time boutique brands to the UAE including: McQ, Halston Heritage, Alice & Olivia, Maje, Elie Tahari, Sandro and C Wonder. In total, more than 30 contemporary stores define this 5,000sqm fashion destination, unveiling a refreshed mix of debut and existing brands to create a stylish new landmark for the city.
When the transformation of Mall of the Emirates is complete, one quarter of the region’s best-loved shopping destination will be completely new to shoppers, including brands making their UAE debut alongside existing retailers embarking on a total remerchandising transformation of their brands.
With Evolution 2015, Mall of the Emirates is demonstrating its commitment to redefining the shopping experience through further investment and development in luxury and fashion, sports and leisure, and dining destinations.
City Centre Deira has been continually redeveloping and enhancing its facilities, most recently investing AED 22 million to modernise its common areas. Over the years, City Centre Deira has introduced more than 55 new shopping options, created a new retail corridor called the Metro Link for Dubai Metro passengers and opened up the City Court featuring several dining concepts.
With all the future projects lined ahead, do you think Dubai in general can accommodate more malls, brands, etc? How do you envision the future of retail?
- Dubai’s property market has been seeing a strong growth pattern since last year and experts believe this momentum to continue.
- 2014 has been very positive as property prices are expected to maintain their upward trend, with more launches slated for the next 12 months or so.
- The DTCM has already made significant steps towards reaching their goal of Vision 2020 to attract 20 million annual visitors by 2020.
- The EXPO 2020 in addition to key infrastructural developments including the new Int’l Airport – Dubai World Central, extensions to the Dubai Metro and new tram systems, are in place to welcome these numbers.
- With this rate of growth in local and tourism populations, retail expansion in Dubai and the UAE is matching demand.