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Thursday night – the beginning of the weekend – and thousands have flocked to Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates, one of the largest shopping centres in the world, to shop, eat, watch a movie or a have a few runs down the indoor ski slope.
It’s a similar story – minus the ski slope – at Dubai Mall, another of the emirate’s ‘mega-malls’. It attracted 54 million visitors in 2011, a 15 percent year-on-year growth; by contrast, New York City welcomed 50.5 million visitors last year.
“People are spending more than they were last year and there is more buoyancy and confidence in the market,” said Vipen Sethi, chief executive of Landmark Group, a retail conglomerate with a presence in 17 countries across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.
Traditionally, heightened consumer spending would be a boon for retail banks as it would create more demand for credit – whether it be personal or car loans or credit card spending.