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Sun 19 Jul 2015 04:43 PM

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Bahrain's retail sector growing on all fronts, says CBRE

New report highlights new development in both destination and community mall segments

Bahrain's retail sector growing on all fronts, says CBRE
Middle East shopping, Middle East retail, GCC retail

Bahrain's retail sector continues to witness development both in the destination and community mall segments, according to the a new report by consultants CBRE.

Its Q2 2015 Bahrain MarketView said that following hot on the heels of established and newly completed centres, new neighbourhood retail and food and beverage offerings are now being added to the pipeline.

The report said Galleria in Zinj, a Dadabhai project offering over 42,000 sq m of gross leasable area, is set for completion in the fourth quarter of 2015, closely followed in 2016 by the $6.5 million Wadi Al Sail project in Riffa, which has announced its collaboration with Cineco to provide a six screen cinema complex.

Maalem Holding's The Courtyard located in Seef District is also due to open in Q3 2015 offering three floors of dining and retail space, said CBRE.

Steve Mayes, director, Middle East Research, CBRE Bahrain, said: "The trend appears set to continue, on the back of the drive for improved local community services. First Bahrain have appointed key consultants as contractors to lead their $30 million planned development in Janabiya, which will also offer a courtyard style retail and food and beverage experience to customers over three floors with 48,000 sq ft of leasable space."

According to the CBRE report, the second quarter of 2015 has seen the busiest time of the year for the hospitality sector, with the Bahrain Formula 1 Gulf Air Grand Prix taking place in April and hotels reporting 90-100 percent occupancy over the period across all classes.

"However, with Ramadan commencing in mid-June this year, the usual challenges of the Holy Month have come early for the industry, with projections of circa 40 to 60 percent average occupancy for the month, which is an improvement on previous years according to spokespeople for the hotels sector," said Mayes.

"Despite reported challenges in achieving optimum occupancy levels, the momentum of new proposed developments shows no sign of abating. The Four Seasons at Bahrain Bay and ART Rotana at Amwaj Islands have already launched earlier this year. Rotana: Downtown is also due for completion this year at Bab Al Bahrain, in the heart of Manama," added Mayes.

According to the report, a management agreement for the Marriott chain, to operate a hotel development at the master planned Water Garden City, due for completion in 2015, was also announced which will be situated in close proximity to 180 room One and Only Royal Mirage, on the shore line.

Emaar Hospitality Group is also looking to introduce The Address and Vida brands to Bahrain, in association with Eagle Hills.

The CBRE report said the commercial office market remains stagnated, with limited movement quarter on quarter. While Grade A international class office developers endeavour to protect market perception by staying firm on headline rentals, new occupier take up has been limited.

It added that there has also been little change quarter on quarter in the residential rental market, in terms of rental rates and demand.

Despite some increased vacancy in the north west of the island for popular expatriate residential compound areas, due to some annual employment contracts coming to a close and the end of the school year, occupancy levels in this area, along with Juffair, Seef District, Reef Island and Amwaj Islands remain strong.

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