By Sunil Kumar Singh

The month-long Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) is more than half-way complete and shoppers at the malls in Dubai are splurging.

It’s not just visitors’ footfall that is on an upward curve in the malls. For shopping frenzy as well, it’s time to pick up shopping bags and feast their taste buds, while for malls and retailers it’s time for brisk business.

Emaar Malls Group, for instance, the shopping malls and retail subsidiary of Emaar Properties and one of the largest developers of premium shopping and entertainment destinations in the region, is seeing increased visitors’ footfalls across all of its malls in Dubai.

“DSF is a shopping and entertainment extravaganza that attracts visitors from around the world. With a host of bargain deals awaiting customers and several entertainment activities, visitor footfall to The Dubai Mall, Dubai Marina Mall, Souk Al Bahar and Gold & Diamond Park has been strong,” Nasser Rafi, Chief Executive Officer, Emaar Malls Group, said.

“The response of the participating outlets and customers, this year, too has been extremely positive, and we are confident that overall footfall will be as impressive as last year, when The Dubai Mall hosted several million visitors during the one-month event,” he adds.

From raffle draws to discounts to chances of winning millions of dirhams, to musical and entertainment shows, residents and tourists in Dubai are left with an array of reasons to head to shopping malls this DSF.

“I think customers’ footfalls has been very encouraging so far and we have seen a lot of tourists as well as residents coming into our malls. We believe if things go the way they are going, everyone is going to have fun. Usually when you have this kind of traffic into malls that reflects into good business for sure,” said Eisa Adam Ibrahim, General Manager, BurJuman

Retailers also expect visitors’ footfalls and sales to pick up as the shopping festival draws to a close and this years DSF to be bigger than the last year’s.

“While the first weekend of DSF has been sluggish, the weekend just passed has seen a surge of both footfalls & sales. We expect a further surge as the pay week is approaching and shoppers get more dispensable income in their hands. We expect DSF 2011 to be 20 per cent up from last year and more than 60 per cent up from a normal month,” Neelesh Bhatnagar, Director, Oasis Centre said.

He said DSF, as a festive period is a globally renowned event, with the standards being set very high. The shopper has come to expect great deals, entertainment and opportunities to win prizes. Tourist influx during this period also ensures that there is increased activity on the retail front.

However, he said, while these are give-ins for the shopping festival, this is also the time when serious shoppers hit the malls to shop. They are generally looking at the best value-for-money and often times seeking deals that give them the flexibility to buy from brands that they like.