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Dubai’s community malls keep playing catch-up

In Dubai, community malls will always be playing catch-up to the hyper-malls.

Even with Dubai’s resident base growing at 5 per cent annually, “we expect to see a shortage of neighbourhood centres and community malls,” states a new report from the consultancy GCP-Reidin.

Currently, the big malls — or those defined as “regional” and super-regional” in industry terms — represent 77 per cent of Dubai’s overall shopping centre stock. And much more will start emerging from developers’ pipeline in the next two to three years, including Meydan One Mall and Dubai Hills at MBR City, the Deira Mall (on Deira Islands) and Nakheel Mall (on the Palm) from Nakheel, the retail clusters with Dubai Creek Harbour, and much more. Plus, there are the expansions happening at existing mega-malls.

Mall developers have reasons to go full-steam with the big-is-more strategy. “In 2016, we can see tourists accounted for 63 per cent of spend in mall-related activities with an estimated value of Dh53 billion (on shopping and F&B),” according to the report. In comparison, domestic spending is estimated to be in the region of Dh30 billion.

Also, “domestic spend is increasing at a faster rate — 20 per cent versus 16 per cent — to that of international visitors, but the supply is skewed towards the super-regional and regional mall. Even so, overall spending in specific categories for tourism is twice that of domestic spend, indicating that tourism remains a major driver for retail spending.” (Dubai typically attracts more than 14 million tourists a year.) But the sentiments were slightly different just over two years ago. Before Dubai announced its next-generation mega shopping destinations, developers were paying a lot of attention on topping up the retail options at their communities.

Just about any master-developer with a completed community retail offering had no trouble filling up these spaces. Nakheel, in particular, has been consistently on-point with its retail stock build-up across its communities. Dubai Properties is following a similar tack, as is Majid Al Futtaim Properties with its community and retail mix offerings.

Source: Gulf News

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