WWD shines a spotlight on Abu Dhabi's expanding retail developments
Destined to become the UAE's new shopping haven
The UAE capital, which is an hours drive away from its more flagrant neighbouring city, Dubai, has emerged as the Middle East's most active city for mall development, according to the real estate consultancy CBRE.
Abu Dhabi already has nine large mall projects under construction, with the emirate also set to be getting 8.4 million square feet of new retail space – ranking among the top-20 cities on the planet in terms of new retail space.
WWD stated how there is no vacancy for large-scale stores to open in Dubai anymore as the Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates have waiting lists, making the capital a bright alternative option for retailers. Matthew Green, head of research at CBRE Middle East said, "Abu Dhabi presents a new opportunity and a retail market that is underdeveloped."
Similar to Dubai, Abu Dhabi's retail boom is focused on creating lifestyle destination spaces, "Any new mall that opens up here will always have a huge leisure component. It's fundamental to success," stated Green. "It's what gets people to come in and spend more time in a mall. You increase the dwell time and increase sales and everyone is happy."
In November, the Yas Mall on Yas Island opened to the public and is Abu Dhabi's largest shopping and entertainment destination – spread across 2.5 million square feet – with the developers hoping to attract 20 million visitors a year. In March 2018, Abu Dhabi will also see the opening of the new 2.3 million-square-foot Al Maryah Central – a lavish shopping mall which will hold Macy's and Bloomingdale's.
"The retail sector in Abu Dhabi has grown significantly, and now Abu Dhabi enjoys the largest retail-development pipeline across the GCC," said Abubaker Seddiq Al Khoori, chairman of Aldar Properties.