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Dubai shopping festival celebrates mega landmark 25th edition

The 2020 edition of the Dubai Shopping Festival is a celebration of 25 successful years of establishing Dubai as a leading retail destination in the global arena

2020 is a landmark year for the city, right from the first day and up until Expo 2020 Growth of the retail sector is enabling growth expected to reach AED 160.7 billion by 2021 The longstanding and continuing collaboration between government and private sectors has revitalized Dubai’s retail sector

2020 marks a landmark year for the United Arab Emirates and specifically Dubai as the city celebrates the milestone 25th edition of the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) and prepares itself to host the highly anticipated Expo 2020.

The latest edition of DSF, which will start on 26 December 2019 and will run until 1 February 2020, not only commemorates the launch of the global retail festival in 1996 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, but also celebrates the accomplishments of the city to date, signifying a time for reflection of the glorious past, as well as looking ahead to increase the momentum. Dubai’s annual calendar is packed with an array of activations, festivals and events throughout the year, and will reach a crescendo with the opening of the mega Expo 2020 in October.

Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE) said: “As 2020 shapes up to be a pivotal year, we are committed to fostering synergies and ensuring ongoing collaboration amongst all stakeholders and entities to consolidate and further strengthen Dubai’s position as a global retail hub. With the emirate expected to host millions of visitors, our Retail Calendar 2020 featuring a wide range of distinct festivals and events including the iconic Dubai Shopping Festival is set to provide year-round activations and special experiences for everyone to enjoy. To be able to develop a robust Retail Calendar, which is synchronised with global cycles as well as conforming to the city’s strategic vision, we have continued to work closely with our Strategic Partners in the retail industry to ensure that they are all aligned with, and are able to benefit from the various plans and initiatives for the successful delivery of festivals and events and to help further boost Dubai’s retail sector.”

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The 25th edition of DSF will kick off with remarkable celebrations to commemorate the special edition, and will include a series of concerts by Emirati and international singers, cultural and family-oriented performances, stand-up comedy shows and street carnivals, as well as sales of up to 90% across more than 3,500 retail outlets. In addition to the daily chances to win life-changing prizes and spectacular firework shows, the entire city will come alive and be at its best to celebrate the momentous occasion.

The shopping festival will take place across 38 days and all retailers and malls will come together to offer great promotions and sales to provide residents and visitors a rewarding experience during the milestone edition. DSF has evolved immensely over the years and contributed to the positioning of Dubai as a global shopping destination. The enormous success achieved by DSF year after year has encouraged retailers and partners to invest in building more malls and expanding existing ones, making it even more attractive for global brands to set up shop in the city. DSF is also instrumental in attracting international visitors who wish to make the most of the promotions and world-class events that are held in Dubai, and participate in the daily raffles offering incredible prizes.


DFRE CEO Ahmed Al Khaja stressed that the collaborative efforts undertaken by the private and public sectors contributed to the rapid development of Dubai’s retail sector. DFRE also strives to ensure that Strategic Partners and retailers meet regularly to discuss important retail initiatives and leverage all efforts to achieve the goals of Dubai’s Tourism Vision 2022-2025.


DSF is the flagship event of DFRE’s ever-evolving annual Retail Calendar, which features 18 festivals, events, season launches, holiday periods and sales throughout the year. The programme offer retailers the opportunity to run customer-centric promotions and activations, which in turn drive footfall and increase sales. The  Retail Calendar 2020 will reaffirm Dubai’s continued international standing as a must-visit shopping destination, enabling continued growth of the retail sector which is expected to reach an estimated AED 160.7 billion by 2021.

Commenting on this, Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of DFRE said: “The Retail Calendar is a collaboration between the Department of Economic Development and Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment, as well as the private sector. It was developed with the support of 18 retail and mall partners to create attractive value propositions in Dubai that coincide with retail shopping periods locally and globally and further enhance shopping experiences. The calendar is strategically drawn up to boost the retail sector, which is a key pillar of destination marketing, thereby contributing to increased GDP and overall international competitiveness. The initiative is also significant contributor to the growth of the SME sector, further bolstering Dubai’s standing in the global arena.”

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The 2020 Retail Calendar will include the following festivals and events:

·Dubai Shopping Festival (26 December 2019 – 1 February 2020): DSF is the world’s biggest shopping festival and will celebrate its 25th anniversary this year with exceptional experiences across its three pillars of shopping, entertainment and winning.

·Russian Holidays (4 – 12 January 2020): Leveraging the increasing traffic from a key feeder country, Dubai will celebrate the Russian Holidays with various events and promotions planned for residents and tourists alike.

·Chinese New Year (25 January – 1 February 2020):  Capitalising on an important source market, this citywide celebration includes entertainment, events, fireworks, cultural activities and promotions across malls, strategically timed around the key holiday.

·DSF Final Weekend Sale (30 January – 1 February 2020):  During the last three days of DSF, retailers will unveil bigger promotions and sales, giving last-minute shoppers an opportunity to pocket irresistible bargains. 

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  • Dubai Food Festival (20 February – 7 March 2020): The Dubai Food Festival offers a unique recipe of events and activities across the city, focusing on gastronomic and culinary experiences ranging from fine dining to the ‘hidden gems’ of small and popular restaurants to the participation of a wide range of international restaurants.
  • Spring/Summer Collections (5-21 March 2020) and Fall/Winter Collections (2-15 October 2020): These events are aimed at establishing Dubai as the fashion capital of the region, increasing sales, supporting retailers, and showcasing the latest fashion lines from local and global brands with special offers.
  • Dubai Home Festival (9-23 April 2020):The Dubai Home Festival aims to support the homeware sector with special promotions in addition to giving young designers a platform to showcase their products and innovations.
  • Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr in Dubai (24 April – 27 May 2020): The “Ramadan in Dubai” campaign is a social, cultural, and spiritual initiative that celebrates the values of the Holy month while Eid Al Fitr in Dubai will feature events and promotions to celebrate the special occasion.
  • 3 Day Super Sale in May and October 2020: Retail outlets representing major local and international brands take part in this three-day event across the city, offering significant reductions of up to 90%.
  • Sales period (4-24 June 2020): Retail outlets offer up to 75% off on a wide range of products by the most famous international brands.
  • Dubai Summer Surprises (25 June – 8 August 2020): Dubai Summer Surprises features exciting events, family activities, exclusive shopping offers and fun raffles that give shoppers the chance to win valuable prizes.
  • Eid Al Adha in Dubai (1-3 August 2020): Eid Al Adha in Dubai highlights authentic Emirati traditions and customs, with several special events and promotions held to mark the happy occasion.

  • Dubai Summer Surprises Final Weekend Sale (6-8 August 2020): Retail outlets offer further offers during the last 3 days of the annual summer shopping bonanza, Dubai Summer Surprises.
  • Back to School (9 August – 5 September): As students get ready to return to school, the Back to School promotional campaign is organised to encourage parents to buy school supplies from shopping malls and retailers that are participating in the campaign, giving them the chance to win valuable prizes.
  • Dubai Fitness Challenge (6-21 November 2020): The Dubai Fitness Challenge will return for a fourth year with exciting activities that are aimed at enhancing Dubai’s standing as the most active city in the world.
  • Diwali in Dubai (2-6 November 2020): Diwali celebrations are an opportunity to celebrate with the Indian community and visitors through an array of activities and offers provided by retail outlets. 
  • Sales period (5-25 December 2020): Retail outlets in the city will offer promotions of up to 75%.
  • Gifting Weekend (10-12 December 2020): A key weekend that attracts shoppers to buy gifts from a wide collection of branded products in time for the holiday season.