Mall of the Emirates, Dubai, United Arab EmiratesDubai, United Arab Emirates - May 2013

The latest research report from Xpandretail powered by Sàvant revealed a booming retail market in Dubai that is poised for continued growth.

The Dubai-based solutions provider released its “Dubai Retail Overview 2017” report, which details the city’s retail growth and highlights areas of new development. Researchers of the report said there was a 5.8 percent year-on-year increase in footfall within shopping malls in the city.

Emaar Malls recorded 125 million visitors at its properties in 2016, which marked an increase of one million visitors from 2015, while Al-Futtaim’s shopping malls grew to 119 million visitors in 2016, which is a gain of seven million visitors from 2015.

Dubai’s retailers thrive from its tourism sector, as the city ranks as one of the most active shopping destinations in the world with a total international tourist spend of $31.3 billion in 2016, the report noted.

The city’s retail and trading sectors account for 30 percent of Dubai’s GDP, which is parallel to about a quarter of its workforce, according to the report. Dubai is considered an “oligopoly,” authors of the report said, as its research revealed that only five developers own 87 percent of Dubai’s mall stock while 15 retailers operate almost 90 percent of the international brands available in Dubai’s retail market.

“Despite major mall developers reporting year-over-year profits, the slowing rate of growth witnessed by retailers has led the Dubai chamber of commerce to recently suggest developers to reduce rents to reflect the current market conditions,” authors of the report added.

Interior of the Dubai Mall, one of the world's largest shopping mallsDubai, United Arab Emirates - Sep 2013*Full story: Rising out of the desert Dubai is a city quite unlike any other on earth. One of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, it's a relatively new tourist destination but has been developing at an unbelievable pace. Today it is a record breaking city - where it is possible to find the fastest, biggest, tallest, largest and highest in the world.

Interior of the Dubai Mall, one of the world’s largest shopping malls.  James D. Morgan/REX/Shutterstock

The significant boost in Dubai’s mall traffic year-over-year indicates steadiness within the UAE’s retail sector, which is projected to exceed $71 billion by 2021. And, the UAE’s retail market was appraised at $56.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to data from Euromonitor International.

An arrival of new retail formats such as pedestrianized high-streets are also in the process of development, which will increase foot traffic in retail street spaces. For example, the Palm Jumeirah is under construction with plans to build an “urban community area” that will connect various retail, dining and entertainment facilities and the Mall of the World is in the early stages of creating temperature-controlled pedestrianized stores and cafés.

The report also noted the creation of pedestrian retail promenades across commercial and residential areas as well as the integration of “urbanism” to “enhance public interactions through built and particularly open spaces” in Dubai.

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