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Expo 2020 to position Dubai as top retail city

Dubai: Dubai’s successful Expo 2020 bid could position the emirate as the top city in the world for retail, the head of the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE) said in a statement on Thursday.

Laila Suhail, CEO of DFRE, said that Expo 2020 will attract scores of new retailers.

“DFRE will now be working closely with its partners from the private sector and other Government bodies to develop more retail festival concepts that will add to the experience of the millions of visitors attending the Expo,” Suhail said in the statement.

She said that Dubai’s history in trade makes it a model for other cities in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region when developing their own retail infrastructure.

“If you take a look at Dubai’s history, you discover that the culture of trade and shopping dates all the way back to 1894, when the emirate’s leaders declared the city a tax free port,” she said.

“More than century later, events such as the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) have undoubtedly played a leading role in reinvigorating the UAE’s retail sector. This is evident by the fact that when DSF was launched in 1996 there were only five major shopping centres. Today there are 70 shopping malls and 40,000 outlets in malls and souks catering to a variety of visitor tastes,” she said.

According to her, Dubai’s model “of explaining the essence of retail culture — both to retailers and consumers” would benefit emerging markets across the region.

Dubai was the fourth most attractive market internationally for new entrant retailers last year, attracting 25 newcomers, behind Honk Kong, Kiev, and Berlin, the statement showed.