GCC malls to change dramatically

New Burjuman extension, Dubai.

As the retail industry begins to recover, the malls landscape in the GCC will change dramatically over the next few years, say industry experts.

The days of ‘mega-malls’ are long gone and a customer-centric approach is more important.

As the key emerging markets of Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Oman develop rapidly into profitable retailing hubs, saturated markets such as Dubai must re-address their strategies to focus on ‘catchment consumers’, those living and working in the surrounding area, and convenience shoppers.


A white paper examining the ways GCC malls can differentiate themselves in the market place has highlighted a need for consumer patterns.

Published by Retail City, in conjunction with Cityscape Global, the white paper provides ideas for a number of sectors within the mall space, including F&B, entertainment and retail mix.

Entitled ‘Innovate to differentiate: The future of the mall in the GCC’, the white paper was devised following a steering group discussion with six of the retail industry experts representing Al Fahim Group, GRMC, Emrill, Jashanmal, Jones Lang LaSalle and Nayomi.

“The mix of retailers in a mall should cater directly to the demographic that is being served. There needs to be enough choice to make it compelling for the shopper to come back,” said David Macadam, head of retail, Jones Lang LaSalle.

“It is vital to understand the catchment area and community, as well as the increasing trend towards buying for today rather than the traditional weekly shop that heralded the popularity of the anchor hypermarket.”

The panel of experts highlighted key components that can help malls including: incorporating entertainment that appeals to the family, involving FM companies from the get-go to ensure the developer’s vision is shared without compromising the comfort and convenience for the consumer and ensuring F&B outlets provide a mix appropriate to the consumer profile visiting the mall.

Increasing footfall and tapping into consumer trends will be topics of discussion at the upcoming Retail City conference, from September 27-29 at Dubai International Conference and Exhibition Centre.

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