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Abu Dhabi’s retail sector flourishes amid coronavirus crisis

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Retail Abu Dhabi’s UnBox Amazing shopping promotion was a big success with AED2 billion ($540 million) spent in 3,500 participating stores between July and September, according to data released by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi).

This translates into year-on-year increases of 31 percent in total spend and 23 percent in total transactions.

The surge in spending during the promotion period was mainly driven by domestic tourism, Ali Hassan Shaiba, executive director of tourism and marketing, DCT Abu Dhabi, told Arabian Business at the completion of the shopping campaign.

“The promotion’s main market feeder were the residents of Abu Dhabi but we saw footfall coming from Dubai too, especially of the weekends,” said Al Shaiba.

The promotion was designed to give the retail sector support as it emerged from the pandemic following the lockdown period which began in March.

During the promotion, consumers were attracted to malls in the UAE capital by discounts of up to 80 percent, as well as deals on food from around 400 venues and tailored “dine and stay” packages.

“The results show just how important offering rewarding, convenient and secure payment experiences are to rebuilding consumer confidence in retail in this new environment and moving forward. We continue to be optimistic about the resilience of Abu Dhabi’s retail sector and remain committed to supporting local businesses navigate the Covid-19 environment to accelerate the UAE’s retail sector recovery,” said Shahebaz Khan, Visa’s general manager for the UAE.

“Everyone has been a winner,” said Al Shaiba. “The retail sector has demonstrated its immense diversity and resilience, and Abu Dhabi has achieved a reputational boost in terms of its promotional capabilities as a leading regional shopping destination.

“Strategic alliances have helped deliver an economically impactful summer retail experience for retailers and consumers, with supporting culinary promotions serving to increase domestic tourism appeal and residual spend.”