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Mon 12 Dec 2011 06:11 PM

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Alshaya inks deal to bring brands to new Saudi mall

Developer Dar Al Arkan says agreement will see 18 top retail brands at Alqasr Mall

Alshaya inks deal to bring brands to new Saudi mall
[Image for illustrative purposes only]

Saudi developer Dar Al Arkan said on Monday it has signed a deal with a major Gulf retail giant to bring world brands to a new shopping mall it is building.

Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Company has inked an agreement with Alshaya Trading Company to lease a space of 6,000 sq m to 18 retail brands at Alqasr Mall in Riyadh.

The mall is ranked the biggest shopping centre in the mid-southern part of the city, Dar Al Arkan said in a statement.

Saudi Arabia, the wealthiest Arab state, has lagged the UAE on the growth of shopping malls and retail spending. Riyadh and Jeddah have retail space of 0.20 sq m per capita, less than that seen in Bahrain, Qatar or the UAE, in part because of the market’s unique cultural restrictions.

Under the agreement, Alshaya will bring the likes of MotherCare, Milano, Dorothy Perkins, Coast, Next, H&M, Boots, Evans, Vision Express, Payless, Peacocks, Victoria's, Pink Berry, and Va Va Voom to the new mall.

Abdulrahman Al Dakheel, manager of Property Management Dept at Dar Al Arkan, said the agreement with Alshaya meant 70 percent of the leasable space had been leased out in Alqasr Mall.

He added: "We propose to sign more agreements with several companies and trading agencies to be present in Alqasr Mall, as part of Dar Al Arkan's strategy to attract giant companies and service providers."

Stores in Saudi Arabia’s underserved retail market could face staff shortages amid new curbs on visas for foreign workers, said a report by Jones Lang LaSalle published on Sunday.

Retail brands must funnel investment into customer service training for employees as new quotas take effect or risk a shortfall in qualified Saudi workers to staff stores, the consultancy said.

“Unless this becomes a serious consideration for major stakeholders, there is a real danger of a shortage of qualified, national candidates suitable for servicing future retail needs,” the report said.

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