Dubai: At the close of the 21st edition of the Dubai Shopping Festival on Monday, early numbers indicate yet another banner year for the largest annual retail and entertainment gala event in Dubai, say organisers.

As the festival tabulates final figures for a complete analysis of the 32-day event, preliminary numbers suggest retailers enjoyed double-digit increases in year-on-year sales.

Some malls in Dubai reported more than 100,000 shoppers during peak periods, reflecting continued success by DSF overseers to draw tourists and residents to a long list of sales, events and themed celebrations.

Laila Mohammad Suhail, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM). said a cursory look back over the last month was satisfying for a large team of administrators, marketers and planners who worked throughout the year to plan 150 events across the emirate.

“Once again the team at Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment has been able to bring a sense of freshness and innovation to the festival while maintaining our core events and favourite attractions that millions of people look forward to every year,” Suhail told Gulf News on Monday. “It is too early to calculate the final numbers but we are anticipating visitor numbers that will exceed the four million level. What is also interesting is that our visitor base is becoming broader and more widespread every year, reinforcing the DSF period as the best time to visit Dubai.”

Average annual statistics show an estimated 4.5 million visitors spending roughly Dh15 billion over the 32-day marquee event based upon three pillars of shopping, hospitality and entertainment — from 1996 to 2014, DSF attracted approximately 56 million visitors with a total spending of Dh145 billion.

Early indicators suggest another strong year for retailers taking part in the celebration of all things retail.

“Certainly, however, many areas of the retail sector are reporting year-on-year sales increases. At the halfway stage of DSF the Gold and Jewellery sector was projecting between 20-25 per cent increase in sales while the electronics sector had seen a sales increase of over 15 per cent. Meanwhile, shopping malls across Dubai had reported growth of up to 12 per cent, with a 15 per cent increase in the automotive sector and high hotel occupancy levels,” Suhail said.

A good example of DSF’s expanding yearly presence is this year’s Market Outside the Box.

Suhail said, “The third edition of Market Outside the Box has proved more successful than ever with 50 per cent more retailers and vendors participating this year in its Downtown location in Burj Park.”

While officially over, the DSF keeps on giving with two events set for the days ahead.

“Although DSF is over, the mega raffle excitement in Dubai will go on for a few more days, as the Infiniti Mega Raffle and the Nissan Grand Raffle will continue to be held daily until February 6. Not only that, with the aim of giving shoppers more chances to win, the Infiniti Mega Raffle will have additional draws starting from February 3,” Suhail said. “We have also been able to help present a truly world-class event from Hermès in their extraordinary Wanderland activation that will remain open at The Dubai Fountain until February 7.”

Suhail said drawing millions of tourists from across the GCC and from within the UAE would not have been possible without the firm support of a legion of supporters who back the annual festival every year.

“There is no doubt that the Dubai Shopping Festival retains its magic and appeal and will continue to be a cornerstone of Dubai’s retail environment for the future and help in the emirate’s ambition to attract 20 million visitors a year by 2020,” Suhail said.