Food and beverage sector main driver in Dubai retail openings

Nearly 30 per cent of new entrants into the UAE’s retail space last year comprised food and beverage openings, new research showed on Tuesday, and that percentage could rise next year.

“While over one in four openings are in the F&B sector, we think it could go beyond that next year,” said Nick Maclean, managing director of CBRE, the report’s publisher.

“One of the drivers of the amount of F&B openings is the timeline for opening. Many of these outlets will have been planned two-and-a-half years ago when the oil price was high and the economic climate was totally different to today.”

He added that it remained to be seen if these businesses can weather the slowdown until the business cycle ticks up again.

The CBRE report said Dubai was still a retail hot spot.

The Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates have at least 100 brands on the waiting list. However, Mr Maclean said the emirate has to be careful not to price itself out of the market.

The report showed that Dubai still hosts the second most international brands after London. Fifty-seven per cent of international retailers have a presence in Dubai, trailing only London at 57.9 per cent

“The retail market is set to grow in the UAE,” said Rajiv Suri, chief executive for Majid Al Futtaim Fashion. “Yes there has definitely been a softening for luxury and premium brands but you have seen people migrate to more mid-market brands. Maybe in our new shopping centres F&B will be a bigger draw than fashion, but retail changes and we need to excite our customers, which we are still doing.”

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