Majid Al Futtaim likes to stay out of the limelight, and it’s an approach that’s certainly worked for him and the Dubai-based Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) Group. The man who introduced shopping malls and hypermarkets to the region, Majid Al Futtaim has built an empire that is growing in line with the current colossal boom in Gulf retail.
Having established his company in 1992, Al Futtaim is most famous for building some of the emirate’s largest shopping malls, which have acted as a magnet for both consumers and retail businesses, and attract over 120 million visitors each year. Al Futtaim opened his first shopping mall in 1995, City Centre in Dubai, and in September 2005 he opened the jewel in the company’s crown, the Mall of the Emirates. One of the largest shopping resorts outside North America, it is home to both the five-star Kempinski and one of the world’s first indoor ski resorts.
What’s next on Al Futtaim’s list? Well, more malls for a start. Scheduled to open in the next couple of years, the huge Mall of Egypt in Cairo is set to dominate one of the Arab world’s most important economies, while other malls are being planned in Riyadh and Muscat.