Coffee shops and F&B dominate UAE’s retail sector

The country’s retail sector is buzzing with caffeine, a survey has found.

About half of the new retail brands setting up in Abu Dhabi and Dubai are either coffee shops or other food and beverage outlets, according to CBRE, the international real estate consultancy.

“The UAE has the highest number of food and beverage outlets, per capita, in the world,” said Nicholas Maclean, managing director of CBRE Middle East. “This F&B category also has the highest failure rate both locally and globally. It is a sector where location is key and can prove the decisive factor between success or failure.”

Dubai has retained its position as the second most important city for international brands after London, CBR said.

The opening of Yas Mall gave Abu Dhabi’s international retail standing a fillip, and the slowdown in traffic from the Russian market was mitigated in Dubai by the growth in tourists from China, which jumped 25 per cent and GCC tourists at 20 per cent higher.

CBRE said that The Dubai Mall has a waiting list of 1,200 names, and with Dubai having only 55 per cent of global brands there are still many to be brought to the region.

Majid Al Futaim, the group behind Mall of Emirates (MoE), predicts continued expansion in the sector. “We are investing half a billion dollars into the MoE expansion,” said Ahmed Galal Ismail, chief executive of Majid Al Futtaim Ventures.

“We can’t build malls fast enough to sustain the growth we have been seeing. If you take our Carrefour operation, we have over 100 in the Middle East, only 17 of those are in MAF property, we are tenants in most malls.”

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