Majid Al Futtaim (Maf), the owner and operator of Mall of Emirates and City Centre malls, on Monday opened its seventh City Centre mall in the UAE.
The latest mall is situated in Dubai’s historic Al Shindagha area.
The Dh150 million community mall, in one of the emirate’s less affluent neighbourhoods, has 24,500 square metres of gross leasable area (GLA) spread over two levels with 75 retail outlets including food and beverage and a seven-screen Vox cinema.
The mall has incorporated the Carrefour hypermarket that has been trading since 2002 and was built on the site of the old fruit and vegetable market, adding a much-needed multi-storey car park.
“City Centre Al Shindagha is in the middle of a densely packed residential area with many offices and homes offering a ready-made catchment,” said Hamad Al Lawati, manager of community malls for Majid Al Futtaim Properties. “We have tailored our retail mix to match the custom we believe will use the mall. Because of the historic nature of Shindagha, many tourists visit the area, adding another strand of custom.”
Last year was a challenging period for retailers with the fall in Russian tourists and the strong dollar making the UAE more expensive.
The Al Shindagha opening was the third Maf project to be launched in the UAE within the past six months.
When asked by The National whether the current retail environment may slow Maf’s aggressive expansion, Mr Al Lawati declined to answer, saying only that more community malls are planned “in the future”.
The move to Shindagha, adjacent to Port Rashid and one of the older areas of Dubai, is a change in tactic from Maf as it targets an established neighbourhood, whereas it usually opens its malls in new areas building and growing custom as the area develops.
“I think it’s a home run for Maf, especially for retailers that target more value-orientated customers,” said David Macadam, the chief executive of the Middle East Centre for Shopping Centres.
“If you look at the retailers present there is no LVMH, there is no Cartier, this is a mall for retailers that sell inexpensive goods at high volumes. Going forward I think Maf will keep up its expansion because it has deep pockets with great brands and a belief in the UAE retail market.”
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