Every summer, for the past 25 years, the blow of the scorching sun is softened by Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS): the mega shopping festival that gets out the consumer instinct in residents, and sets a template for visiting tourists.

This year, it’s a special year, the silver jubilee, so the attendant flourishes (that started on July 1 and will go up till September 4, the duration of DSS) have been heightened more than usual. “Crazy discounts” — at times, up to 90 per cent off — and fabulous prizes and surprise lucky draws (“spend just Dh500 and you could be the lucky shopper taking home 1 million dirhams in cash” we think takes the cake!) have got all got a leg up, and they are all coming at a time when the global consumer outlook is somewhat gloomy with petrol prices peaking and the war in Ukraine getting sneakier.

In many ways, DSS is serving as the ultimate feel-good sector for consumers who get to be part of something much, much bigger than simply shopping. Dubai has always believed in redefining shopping standards with its out-of-the-box formats (take the case of the 25-hour sale to mark the beginning of DSS, to commemorate the 25th anniversary) — which is what makes it such a one-stop destination. Just when you thought you’d seen it all, comes yet another surprise that sweeps you off your feet.

Put simply, shopping outings here are experiences; there’s nothing matter-of-fact and standalone about them. The most telling compliment that can be accorded to an extravaganza like DSS is how they pull out all the stops for it to be a wholesome family affair. You are part of a big show and you are wonderstruck, but never intimidated. That’s because there are extensive curations done to ensure all aspects of enjoyment are factored in. Even if you are not up to the spending game, you can always participate and feel at one with the community.

“Dubai Summer Surprises has been at the heart of Dubai’s summer season for a quarter of a century, shaping memories and creating unforgettable experiences for everyone in our great city,” said Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO, Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), the body that organises DSS. “This year is no exception, with a programme that showcases the very best Dubai has to offer across our malls and entertainment experiences, restaurants, hotels and more.”

At a time when the global mindset is in the grips of a crisis, DSS is well on its way to proving how shopping can, indeed, be therapeutic. And not in a shallow, commercial way… rather by including everyone in a movement that instills optimism, hope, and, of course, lots of summer surprises.

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