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Thu 13 Jul 2017 02:34 PM

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GCC retail spending seen rebounding after two-year slowdown

New report says Gulf retail market to be worth over $313bn by 2021

GCC retail spending seen rebounding after two-year slowdown
(MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

The size of the GCC retail market is forecast to grow to $313.2 billion by 2021 despite experiencing sluggish sales this year, according to a new report.Alpen Capital said the sector is set to grow at an annual rate of 4.6 percent over the next four years.Its report said that after witnessing a drop in 2016, retail sales are likely to grow at a slow pace in 2017, in view of the prevailing economic environment.However, the sector is expected to recover in 2018 and grow steadily through 2021 driven by the expected rise in population, international tourist arrivals and per capita income.Between 2016 and 2021, non-food retail sales are anticipated to grow at an annualised rate of 5.3 percent led by the increasing number of youngsters and expatriates, who are propelling demand for innovative, trendy and international consumer products, Alpen said.It added that during the period, food retail sales are likely to grow a rate of 3.5 percent, driven by the expanding consumer base and demand for health foods.Alpen said Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are expected to register the fastest growth in retail sales, driven mainly by increase in tourism activity and per capita income.Its report added: "The GCC retail sector continues to remain an active contributor to the region’s economic development. Although the sector is experiencing a slowdown, the long-term fundamentals of the sector remain strong and are expected to grow steadily through 2021."A favourable demography, high per capita income and an active tourism industry have attracted renowned international retail brands to the GCC. Changing consumer preferences and proliferation of digital devices are further reforming the region’s retail landscape."The numerous mall developments in the pipeline and growing penetration of modern store formats are a testament to immense opportunities in the sector."

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