By Shane McGinley
Any developer eyeing new mega-mall in city should ‘visit a psychiatrist’, says retail boss
Dubai cannot sustain any more mega-malls in an already
glutted retail market, the head of one of the UAE’s largest retail conglomerates
“[Dubai has] more than enough malls,” Mohi-Din BinHendi,
president of BinHendi Enterprises, told the 4th Arabian Business Forum in
“If anyone wants to add another mall, they need to visit a
The UAE’s trade and tourism hub, Dubai is the shopping capital
of the Middle East. A report by consultancy CB Richard Ellis last year found
the emirate ranks second only to Hong Kong for its percentage of luxury fashion
Much of these sales are driven by Dubai’s tourism trade,
said BinHendi, particularly a rise in visitors from the increasingly wealthy
“The Chinese have
started coming here – they come in big groups, and the Russians are still very
prominent shoppers, as are the Indians,” he said.
While Dubai may not have room for another mega mall,
BinHendi said the city could support smaller, niche malls, such as those
dedicated to furniture or hardware.
BurJuman shopping centre, one of Dubai’s oldest malls, announced
plans earlier this month for a major renovation aimed at increasing retail
space by more than a fifth. The overhaul will free up space for a string of
high fashion brands, the mall said, and the inclusion of a cinema complex,
grocery store and extended food court.
Dubai is also set to play host to the world’s largest
shopping centre should plans to build the Mall of Arabia, part of the delayed
Dubailand complex, come to fruition.
The mall, part of the $5bn City of Arabia Project within
Dubailand, was scheduled to open in the last quarter of 2010 but work has
stalled in the wake of the emirate’s real estate crash.
Original plans show the mall featuring four million sq ft of
gross leasable retail space, more than 1,000 retail outlets and access to the
dinosaur-themed Restless Planet park.
It is refreshing to read the wise view of Mr. BinHendi; he is spot on. There is over capacity as we speak, and it can sustain the visitors growth easily for many years to come. There should be focus on creating higher revenue per square ft for shops than just creating square ft retail space. Going through the malls its astonish to see the lack of actual customers in the many shops.
Bin Hendi is an example of what happens during a 'bubble' economy. During the boom years Bin Hendi over-expanded with a mind set of "lease the space before our competition does" and now is paying the price. Look at all the locations he has closed over the past 2 years in Deira City Centre, Festival City and Bur Juman.
Does Dubai NEED another mega mall? No. Would another mega mall survive and possibly thrive? Yes, if they do it the right way. There will be no shortage of retailers wanting space in any "new" mall. The key for the mall is offering something different than what is already available in Dubai. More of the same will not work.
Mr. Bin Hendi as a master retailer is absolutely right, in my time as an expat in 2009 this was already true.
This goes also for the dreaming developers for more hotels, villas, apartment buildings etc. In my time roughly 40/60 % were standing empty, what a waste of money.
As with the political unrest in the M. East countries in general I would like to advise them to look at other markets, the world is a big bigger than only Dubai.
I could give them good advices if they want to listen and stop their wishful dreaming.