Dubai: When Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) kicks in this Friday (June 22), the summer extravaganza will feature a series of discount sales, retail experiences, family entertainment options and chances galore to win prizes. It may sound familiar — the event after all is in its 21st edition — and you may wonder what’s new. You may also ask if it is any different from other promotions, especially the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF).
But as retailers and tour operators say, there’s a world of difference in DSS leisure trends and discount patterns compared to DSF.
Kabir Malkani, assistant general manager of marketing at the Lal’s Group Shopping Malls, said, “Residents who shop during DSS are buying things to take back home. DSS prepares them for their vacations, so they look for clothes, electronics, food items, dates, toys and other gifts to give to family and friends. But during DSF, the mood is different. Generally, residents are not travelling then, they are within the UAE itself.”
Residents who shop during DSS are buying things to take back home on their vacations.”
- Kabir Malkani, Lal's Group shopping malls
Malkani said some discounts tend to be heavier during DSS, especially in community malls as sales volumes are big. “But it could be different in larger malls as they cater to a huge flow of traffic during DSF when tourism in Dubai is at its peak.
Ram Buxani, chairman of the ITL Cosmos Group, distributor for brands like Sharp, Remington, Rhythm, Max and Camry, said, “DSS has a better movement of goods because of two reasons: It’s the time when people travel to their home countries for summer and after that, it’s back to school.”
He said participating outlets must offer a minimum discount of 30 per cent to benefit shoppers. “There are retailers who come up with other promotions, including raffle draws and gift vouchers, but we prefer to offer straight discounts on select items,” he added.
For jewellers though, there’s no better time than DSF.
Vinay Jetwani, partner at Meena Jewellers in Bur Dubai, said, “New Year is a holiday season worldwide. Add to this the fantastic weather in Dubai during the time and there is a huge influx of tourists. There are great promotions and raffle draws initiated by the Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group and customers get coupons against gold purchases. So definitely, gold sales are higher during DSF than DSS.”
But DSS has its own pull.
Kulwant Singh, managing director of Lama Tours, said, “From a tourist’s point of view, DSS is a chance to have a discounted holiday because you have great deals not just on hotel stay, but also shopping and other attractions owing to the hot weather.”
He said hotel tariffs go down by 60-70 per cent during the summer months which is a boon for holidayers.
“We get a lot of enquiries from overseas clients about indoor shopping trips to avail special rates at malls.” In addition, he said tickets to tourist attractions also cost less during DSS. He said Lama has just introduced the Dubai Pass which offers up to 60 per cent discounts on as many as 30 tourist attractions in the UAE. The pass costs Dh399 upwards, which at the minimum allows access to three attractions over five days.
According to Malkani, the exposure to sales and events in Dubai over the years has been so high that tourists and residents alike are constantly expecting something more and new. “As retailers, we have to keep pushing and coming up with innovative promotions. We have at least five major sales through the year, not to mention the flash discounts offered in between. But discounts work every time.”
Ahmad Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of Dubai Tourism, which organises DSS, said the aim of the event is to make Dubai “the ultimate summer destination”. “We also encourage residents to stick around for the summer and experience the full line-up of not-to-be-missed surprises we have in-store,” he added.
Highlights of DSS
■ 12-hour sale: June 22. Participating outlets at Majid Al Futtaim malls will offer discounts from 25-90 per cent between 12pm to 12am on 22 June.
■ Deal of the say: June 23-August 1. This will entail an offer on an exclusive retail product at a specified shopping location each day. The deals will only be revealed 24 hours beforehand.
■ Weekend destination: A different mall every week will offer a series of shopping surprises and entertainment.
■ Final weekend sale: August 2-4. This will feature the very last price cuts of summer, giving shoppers a final opportunity to snap up the best discounts.