With its growing mall culture and vibrant mall development scenario, Middle East holds much promise for global retailers. Read on.
International retail industry experts say that Middle East markets are the safest bet for retailers today. Reportedly, the region’s retail industry will rise at a CAGR of about 10% through 2011-2014 to reach over $ 1,000 Billion by 2014. Middle Eastern economies have shown resilience, are surging ahead and they are offering highly positive retail climate, for local and foreign companies to take plunge and thrive. While most of the retail growth is expected to come from the Emirates and Saudi Arabia; however, countries Egypt, Lebanon and Syria are also riding the retail wave. In the past few years, the modern retail spaces in Middle East have become more sophisticated. They have evolved from traditional mom and pop shops to modern organised retail spaces. Besides, branded homegrown as well as international chains, hypermarkets, supermarkets, and malls have emerged as key shopping destinations in the region. Existing like Mall of the Emirates, Deira City Centre, Dubai Mall (in Dubai); Al Wahda (in Abu Dhabi), Morocco Mall (in Egypt) are names to recon with that provide best of the shopping experience to locals and travellers alike.
New retail spaces & mall development
Middle East markets are driven by factors such federal support to retail sector, riches from petro dollar, rising disposable incomes, spending power and consumption by locals and large expat community, young consumers, increased tourist influx, and strong consumer confidence. These factors have led investors and retailers from across the world to park their investments and sell their products/services respectively in this part of the world, to reap sustainable profits. Consumers nowadays demand for best of products and services and they seek enhanced shopping experience as well. Malls or shopping centres house not only stores but also food and beverage outlets, entertainment zones like movie theaters, children parks, spas & salons, fitness centres to provide complete customer experience under one roof.
There are several new malls in pipeline that are expected to feed the hunger for superior shopping avenues.
UAE rides on mall wave
One of the emirates in the UAE, Abu Dhabi is now rising to enhanced retail growth. Abu Dhabi’s Yas Mall with 235,000 sqm retail area is under development. It will house stores of prominent retailers like Geant (as anchor tenant), Alshaya, Dubai Holding Group, Landmark Group, Dubai Holding Group, Liwa Trading, IKEA etc. Expected to be completed by 2013, the entire development will feature some 700 retail and food units including four major department stores and six hotels, and will be connected to tourist major attractions.
Fujairah City Centre being developed in Fujairah City UAE is one of the largest shopping malls in the region with 34,000 sqm of retail space. The mall’s anchor retail tenants will include Centrepoint, Paris Gallery, Max Fashion and Carrefour along with host of mid‐market and budget brands. The mall also has food and beverage stores, multi‐plex, family entertainment centre and huge car parking space.
Dubai being one of the world’s leading shopping destinations attracts shoppers from around the globe. The emirate has been on the forefront of commerce and retail activity for past many years and there are a number of well-known malls in Dubai. Still, Dubai has room for many such retail centres. Scheduled for completion by 2013, The Pointe is a new 136,000 sq m mall shopping centre planned for the Palm Jumeirah, to be developed by Nakheel. It will house several premium branded stores along with F&B and leisure spaces. In coming years, Dubailand in Dubai will welcome Mall of Arabia that is also expected to be a pure retail indulgence. Its developers plan to house a rooftop hotel, multi screen movie theatre, bowling alley and avant-garde performance arena and much more besides, retail area. The development is likely to house over 1,000 retail outlets. Also, with over 929,000 sq m of gross leasable area, it is expected to become the largest shopping centre in the world.
Qatar’s new mall
Qatar’s capital city Doha is set to get a brand new mall namely Doha Festival City. The shopping centre is expected to provide state-of-art shopping space to customers. The project is to be finished towards the end of 2014 will offer 260,000 sq m of gross leasable area to the potential retailers. One of the joint venture partners of Doha Festival City is Al‐Futtaim Group, regions key retail group. The under-construction mall will have four distinctive region including Garden Promenade, Rainforest Boardwalk, Water Concourse, and Fashion Galleria. Al- Futhaim is the IKEA, the international furniture brand local regional partner and the group plans to come up with 32,000 sq m IKEA store at first, probably by this year. The mall will also be a home for local and global brands comprising M&S, Toys R Us and many more.
Oman’s grand retail space
Muscat Grand Mall located in Oman’s capital city Muscat has already seen soft launch in Q1, 2012. The mall with a gross floor space of 67,000 sq m has none less than Carefour as its anchor tenant. The new mall will soon officially open its doors to customers, housing stores of prominent retailers such as Aeropostale, Garage, Homes R Us, Sharaf DG, Shoe Studio, Tim Horton's café. The property will also have facilities like food court, multi-screen movie theatre, children's entertainment area besides, several international restaurants and cafes.
Upcoming malls in Egypt
Egypt, one of the major tourist attractions in the region is all set to welcome two new mall properties, both being developed by Al Futtaim Group. One being Mall of Egypt, with 160,000 s qm of gross leasable space, and a resort called, known as Ski Egypt. The property slated to open in 2014, will have more than 50 F&B outlets, besides other entertainment facilities. Cairo Festival Centre, a part of Cairo Festival City in Egypt, the mixed‐use urban community is under development. It will provide 180,000 sq m of retail space and be home to over 300 stores of international and national brands and nearly 90 cafes and restaurants. Among several facilities will be the KidZania franchise, an edutainment centre.
Opportunity for retailers
The demand for excellent shopping experience among Middle Eastern shoppers has spruced up property market and mall development in the region. The new malls will immensely expand the existing retail space across Middle East. It will provide an opportunity to companies and brands to grow their retail footprints and increase sales and earnings. It can be said that with, several new big malls coming up in the region, the Middle Eastern retail landscape is set for bigger boom.
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