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Sun 22 Jun 2014 10:42 AM

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Dubai Mall is “a beacon of hope” for Arabs, says Emaar boss

It offers the economic and social freedom they need to compete in the modern world, Mohamed Alabbar believes.

Dubai Mall is “a beacon of hope” for Arabs, says Emaar boss

The Dubai Mall is “a beacon of hope” and offers Arabs the economic and social freedom they need to compete in the modern world, Emaar boss Mohamed Alabbar was quoted as saying in a report by a British newspaper on the world’s biggest mall.

The comments were featured in an article looking at how Emaar's flagship shopping and entertainment destination has become one of the world’s most visited sites, attracting over 75m visitors in 2013.

Earlier this year, the Dubai developer, which also built Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest tower - said that footfall at the mall surged 15 percent last year, with average monthly visitors totalling 6.25m.

At the same time, the mall's 1,200 plus retail outlets recorded a 26 percent rise in sales during 2013 compared to the previous year, Emaar said in a statement at the time.

The number of shoppers significantly surpassed those at some of the world’s most famous destinations, with Time Square in New York attracting 42m visitors and Niagara Falls visited by 22m.

Commenting on the significance of The Dubai Mall’s record-breaking visitor numbers, Alabbar said the mall offers Arabs the economic and social freedom they need to compete in the modern world.

“Three hundred million Arabs in this region feel they can make it here. They can get their break here. It’s a beacon of hope, it’s enriching,” he was quoted as saying by The Sunday Times newspaper.

Local retailer Sarah Belhasa, from Studio 8 fashion store, also was quoted as saying business in the mall is good and she believed Dubai “is the best place in the Middle East to be a woman.”

Writer and commentator Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi added: "The Middle East – the world – needs a new place where east meets west, as it used to do in Cairo, Alexandria, Algiers, Beirut and Baghdad. Here, Arabs and everyone else all rub along together. Is that important? Does it change things a little for the better? I think so. And if you don’t agree, you don’t have to come.”

The GCC as a whole continues to show strength as a dynamic retail market with four countries ranked among the top 25 in the 2014 AT Kearney Global Retail Development Index (GRDI).

Factors influencing the growth of the regional retail industry include the construction and infrastructure boom, a growing and young population, strong GDP growth, and increasing consumer confidence and spending, AT Kearney said.

The UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Oman were all prominent in this year's list with the UAE climbing one spot to claim fourth position.

Retail sales grew five percent in the UAE in 2013, boosting annual sales to $66bn, AT Kearney noted.

It added that Dubai’s winning bid for Expo 2020 "highlights the country’s bright future and the massive infrastructure and development projects in the pipeline".

Kuwait also climbed one spot to rank eighth in this year’s index.

"The country’s rapidly growing GDP makes it a strong retail market, with high oil prices, strong trade and fiscal surpluses, and large government reserves creating a positive outlook," the index said.

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MMM 6 years ago

I am Dubai biggest fan. from Emirates Airlines to Emaar, Dubai has created strong brands, but for a mall to be called "beacon of hope" it really makes me question the values of the society we live in!

Dear Emaar and PR Agency, humble never hurt anyone. we still didn't forget or get over 2008. dubai mall is a great success story, a great shopping and entertainment destination, but i doubt very much to be the answer to our prayers and the salvation of the human race.

JohnDoe 6 years ago

So a beacon of consumption and waste is a hope for all Arabs? Sad state of affairs in this region. Shopping malls filled with western franchises won't accomplish anything in this region except get the fools to part with their "hard earned" money.

The girl who flies planes 6 years ago

Poor John Doe is broke!
So he is upset that he can't spend money @ the mall.
Take it easy!

Steady On 6 years ago

Steady on! "A beacon of hope for Arabs" have a word! Perhaps you need to build a mall in Syria or Iraq - that should sort everything out?!If a shopping mall is a beacon of light for any nation - then its a pretty bad state of affairs.

Saudi Engineer 6 years ago

Plane girl...So you think he's bitter, and has no point? Well then tell us how dubai mall actually *is* a beacon of hope.

Saudi Engineer 6 years ago

I agree with most of the comments below (exception flying girl). I'm not exactly sure how a mall can be a beacon of hope. Will it make you a better person? Educate you? Will it free Palestine? Or help the Syrian refugees? Does it provide peace in Iraq or Afghanistan? Does it actually do anything other than sell stuff? Yes there's an aquarium, which can be considered educational. A fountain (entertainment) and it creates jobs and moves the economy (of Dubai only). But a beacon? Of Hope?? REALLY?!

Mariam 6 years ago

The greatest shopping mall in the world that is ever-changing, but what is perplexing is why the management does not realize that people are dumping their cars in the parking lot all day and hopping on the train to work? I implore you to implement a paid parking system like Emirates Mall so that shoppers can find parking easier which is growing more difficult every day after the train was connected to the mall.

marwan 6 years ago

i think dubai as a whole is beacon of hope not juast for other arabs cause dubai believe in life and positive and success instead of the death and hate they see else where im proud of my dubai and im proud of mohmmd al abbar and im proud of dubai mall cause its a joy and it show the success of dubai.

Saud 6 years ago

As an Arab, places like Dubai Mall make me proud as I can buy so many famous brands there while being inside an Arab country. Dubai itself is a proof of how Arabs can achieve the best in the world if they want to. The worlds busiest airport, the tallest tower, the biggest mall are all in Arab countries and this is something to be proud of.

expat08 6 years ago

most likely the quote by Mr. Alabbar is taken out of context or not reported correctly and he meant to say Dubai (and not Dubai Mall) is a beacon of hope in the Arab world.