MILAN — As luxury adjusts to the post-COVID-19 reality, there are more emerging markets to look out for, including Egypt.
Al-Futtaim Malls, a retail developer that is part of the Al-Futtaim Group, is banking on the brisk luxury consumption in the country and especially in Cairo, where it is planning a new development called Festival Avenue, to flank the existing Cairo Festival City Mall with upscale services and around 80 luxury boutiques over 484,00 square feet.
The retail complex will debut in spring 2023 and will be located in the New Cairo neighborhood, a booming area home to 7.09 million people.
“A few years ago we started seeing a window opening for experiential luxury, aimed at consumers that are on the cusp, meaning those that will become the luxury consumers of tomorrow,” said Timothy Earnest, group director and chief executive officer of Al-Futtaim Malls.
“We constantly have to evolve and refresh [the format] as the distribution landscape has changed, where and how people buy goods has changed, we have to stay at the forefront of the scenario,” he said, noting that while the transactional purpose will always be key, experiences can bring added value and maximize merchants’ revenues.
“Our primary goal is to always fulfill what people want and make them happy,” he said.
The new mall reflects a growing interest in the region from international businesses, including Dubai-based Al-Futtaim Group, the holding company active in the retail, automotive, real estate and financial businesses which has expanded its footprint in the Middle East, North Africa and Middle East countries especially.
According to Earnest, “the world is starting to look at the region and the city to bring in major business.”
Marking the debut of the Festival Avenue complex, Al-Futtaim Malls has entered into a partnership with Vogue Italia and its Vogue Talents division, helmed by Sara Sozzani Maino, aimed at “supporting, nurturing and helping establish the Egyptian designers in the market. There are voices out there which can blend very nicely with what’s already at the mall,” noted Earnest.
The head of special projects at Vogue Italia, Sozzani Maino, revealed that the region-specific talent search will open in November for three to four months for all emerging women’s, men’s, accessories and jewelry designers hailing from Egypt. She underscored that craftsmanship will be a key focus of the search.