Family entertainment ‘key to retail growth’
Dubai, March 22, 2012
Family Entertainment Centres (FEC) will play a vital role in supporting the retail sector in the region, said the organisers of an upcoming amusement and leisure show in Dubai.
Organised by International Expo Consults (IEC), a division of UAE’s multi-faceted business conglomerate Falak Holding, Dubai Entertainment Amusement and Leisure (DEAL) show will take place from April 17 to 19 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
DEAL 2012, the largest show for the theme parks and amusement industry in the Middle East, will draw over 200 firms from across 30 countries as well as more than 5,000 trade visitors, the organisers said.
Abdul Rahman Falaknaz, chairman of IEC, said: “There is a dramatic shift in consumer preferences over the years. With the increase in online shopping mechanism retail sector needs to keep reinventing and repositioning itself to suit the changing marketplace.”
“To address this challenge most of the malls in the region are trying to offer a 360 degree shopping experience by adding more entertainment led platforms to influence consumer behaviour and thereby enable retail sales growth.”
Prakash Vivekanand, managing director, Amusement Services International (ASI) said: “This year looks promising for our industry as most amusement operations have registered a growth in revenue and footfall year on year.”
“We are confident that the amusement industry in the region is heading in the right direction. FEC’s are key service anchors that support the many retail developments within the Middle East. It helps such developments to attract and register family footfall. Consumers can today make their retail purchases from their smart devices.”
“However, the key differentiator that drives people to the brick and mortar retail stores is not just the product but also the other leisure & entertainment facilities within a mall,” added Vivekanand.
Nabil A Kassim, general manager, Warehouse of Games said, “Some of the malls with the FECs have recorded a 35 per cent increase in earnings in the last few months. The reason for this surge in earnings is due to the influx of tourists from other regions and also the volatility in other markets.”
“We foresee the industry to grow at a rapid pace in 2012 and beyond. The FECs will perform even better during the next few quarters due to the change in the climate and forthcoming vacation season. FECs actually complement the retail industry to a large extent and without FECs the whole retail puzzle is largely incomplete. There are several new projects coming up in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman and the region is set to witness a remarkable growth in the entertainment sector in the near future.”
Ahmed Komy, resident Switch Middle East, a leading global bowling company with a centre at Ibn Battuta Mall said: “As compared to the other industries entertainment industry was not deeply affected due to the recession. People need to feel good and at a nominal cost which can be provided by the entertainment corners within the mall.”
“The retail sector has definitely benefitted due to the entertainment aspect of the mall whether it is movies or games. This culture is quite prominent here in this part of the world and it is not a luxury but a must for driving families to come to the malls,” he added.
With last year’s show generating a record number of exhibitors and visitors, and most of them pledging to return, DEAL 2012 is expected to witness an even larger gathering of key players and visitors in the amusement industry from the Middle East, African, Mediterranean and Asian countries.
“We are aiming to propel the region’s theme parks industry through this show and thereby enabling the exhibitors and the consumers capture the potential this billion dollar industry. Last year contracts worth millions of dollars were signed at DEAL 2011 indicating renewed confidence in the region’s leisure sector,” Falaknaz said.
“Now in its 18th edition, DEAL is the only platform in the Middle East for exhibitors in these industries to connect with buyers, for buyers to see and test the latest products and services, and for professionals to share best practice and make new contacts,” he concluded. – TradeArabia News Service