Behind the scenes of Mall of Qatar

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Shem Krey (R), deputy managing director of the Mall of Qatar.

Shem Krey (R), deputy managing director of the Mall of Qatar.

In the Gulf these days, creating a successful mall takes a lot more than stringing together a strip of retail shops. It requires a deliberately selected mix of familiar and unique brands, anchor stores, food and beverage outlets and over-the-top entertainment options; and there’s a certain art to getting it right.

“I call it aligning the stars,” Shem Krey, the man building what is planned to be the largest mall in Doha, Mall of Qatar, says.

“There are very few mistakes that you can afford to make in regional shopping malls, especially with the competition setting that’s happening in the Qatar market with the number of malls that already exist and the new ones that will be coming online two, three, four years after ours.”

Krey has just announced the Carrefour hypermarket as the first confirmed retailer for Mall of Qatar, which is scheduled to open in September 2015. But it won’t be the typical Carrefour already popular across the Gulf; this one will be more upmarket, with its own bakery and grocery lines and higher quality products, Krey says. A flagship for the region.

Getting the first anchor tenant right will pave the way for the entire 195,000 square metres (sq m) of leasable area within the mall. “It’s critical. On a scale of one to ten, it’s a nine in the decision-making process,” Krey says.

The Mall of Qatar is being built within the Al Rayyan Village, a new master development aimed at high net worth individuals in southern Doha. It claims to be the country’s first “super regional shopping centre” and will be the largest until Doha Festival City opens, due a year later.

Plans include more than 400 stores, with a particular emphasis on luxury, three anchors, a 19-screen cinema with IMAX, the country’s largest entertainment complex, a five-star fashion-themed hotel and 80 food and beverage outlets.

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