Dubai retail is home to the second-greatest number of international brands behind London, according to CBRE’s 2016 “How Global Is the Business of Retail?” report. Fifty-seven percent of international retailers have a presence in the emirates, trailing only London at 57.9 percent.
The demand for retail real estate has made wait lists long in Dubai’s most sought after locations such as Mall of the Emirates and Dubai Mall.
Emaar Malls, operator of high-end retail facilities including the Dubai Mall — its flagship asset, which has been the most visited shopping mall worldwide for four years — reported an 11.2 percent rise in second-quarter net profit last week.
Emaar is expanding The Dubai Mall’s Fashion Avenue area by a million square feet to deliver an additional 600,000 square feet of gross leasable area.
Malls in the region, including Mall of the Emirates, operated by Majid Al Futtaim, are working toward incorporating more technology into the experience with services like purchase and delivery that the mall would run for its retailers.
Ahmed Ismail, chief executive officer of Majid Al Futtaim Ventures, oversees several of the group’s businesses, including fashion retail, leisure and entertainment, cinemas, financial services and facilities management of malls. “We are in the business of creating great experiences. It’s important for us to invest in technology to improve customer journeys. We are studying big data and small data to track and improve on everything from where to park to what to order to where to shop.”