Salesmen show watches to customers at a Breitling watch store at the shopping center Mall of the Emirates in Dubai.
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Russian shoppers caught in a currency crunch are staying away from the Dubai Shopping Festival this year, but visitors from elsewhere look set to make up the numbers at the annual retail bonanza.Russian travel operators in Dubai reported a sharp drop in the number of tours booked to the emirate compared with the same time last year, one by as much as 80 percent.Dmitry, a Russian tourist in Dubai, said he was only able to afford the trip because he paid for his travel two months in advance. Shopping malls recorded an 18 percent increase in footfall during the first two weeks of the event compared to last year, according to the organisers of the festival.Consulting firm Nasser Saidi & Associates expects retail sales in Dubai to rise 5 percent to about 160 billion dirhams (nearly $44 billion) in 2015 .
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