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Fri 22 May 2015 08:49 AM

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Cirque du Soleil-type troupe to boost Mall of Qatar footfall

General manager of the $1bn shopping mall reveals how entertainment will be used to differentiate it in retail market

Cirque du Soleil-type troupe to boost Mall of Qatar footfall

The general manager of the $1 billion Mall of Qatar, which is due to open next year, has dismissed claims that oversupply in the retail sector could impact its success.

Rony Mourani, speaking at the Cityscape Real Estate Summit in Doha, said the company behind the mega mall had studied the market to identify what was lacking in the Qatar retail landscape.

Creating a regional super mall like Mall of Qatar, due to open in the first quarter of 2016, presented both challenges and opportunities for today and the future, Mourani said.

He added that entertainment would be a key factor in boosting footfall, with plans to include a Cirque du Soleil-type resident performing troupe, alongside other daily shows.

He said: "There is no such thing as shopping for the majority of shoppers - it's the excitement of going somewhere on the weekend or evenings where everything is under one roof, including a 'fun factor'. To provide this, live entertainment is going to be our main attraction and makes us different from all other malls.

"We're planning major entertainment concepts, including a Cirque style resident performing troupe interspersed with well-known international acts and shows from all over the world on a daily basis on the Oasis rotating stage lift- the first professional stage of its kind in a mall in the world."

The mall will also include the world's largest IMAX 3D laser projection system in a 19 screen cinema complex.

Mourani said: "We wanted to cater for clientele from every sector - value, mid-market and luxury markets - so there is something to appeal to everyone. It became very important that we had at least 25 percent of first time brands for Qatar and that 30 percent of the mall would offer F&B and family entertainment."

Phil McArthur, managing director of McArthur + Company, shopping centre leasing specialists for the Mall, added: "Consumers want more from their mall experience than simply shopping. Featuring daily professional entertainment troupes is a unique and innovative idea that is bound to make the mall visit lively and stimulating. This is something that's missing in Qatar. Mall of Qatar has identified this key element that will distinguish it from other malls."

Separately, Qatar-based UrbaCon Trading & Contracting said it is making "great progress" in the construction of the Mall of Qatar.

Slated to open in the first quarter of 2016, the Mall of Qatar will serve an estimated 20 million customers a year, with 400 shops, a luxury hotel, a family entertainment centre, a 5-star restaurant and 82 other restaurants and cafes.

"70 percent of the construction of the mall has been completed. Mall of Qatar will be be one of the largest shopping malls in the world," said UrbaCon.

Built at an estimated cost of up to $1 billion, the 4,176,000 square feet shopping centre will be adjacent to a FIFA 2022 World Cup stadium, and will have a dedicated station on Doha's new metro line.

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