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Wed 29 Oct 2008 11:52 AM

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Dubai Mall opening hit by second delay

EXCLUSIVE: Middle East's biggest mall will now not open to public until Nov. 4, shop owners say.

The much-awaited opening of Dubai Mall, set to be the biggest mall in the Middle East, has been delayed until Nov. 4, Arabian Business can reveal.

The 12.1 million-square foot mall was set to open its doors to the public on Thursday, but has been pushed back at the last minute because the mall, road access and telephone network are not ready, shop owners said.

The Dubai Mall management office told Arabian Business on Wednesday the mall would not open until Nov. 4. "It's not finished," the receptionist at the office said.

Nabil Daud, regional CEO of toy store Hamleys, which will open its first store outside of the UK at Dubai Mall, confirmed the opening date had been pushed back until Nov. 4.

"I am happy [the opening has been delayed]. It gives us more time to prepare," Daud said.

"The access to the mall and telephone network should be 100 percent [by Nov. 4]."

The owner of one of the kiosks in the mall, who asked not to be named, said it "doesn’t look ready for customers".

"We were supposed to be going to set up today, but now it’s been delayed... They didn’t give a reason why," the owner said.

The delay is the second to hit Emaar Malls Group's flagship development.

Emaar Malls, a subsidiary of Emaar Properties, said in August the opening was being pushed back two months due to delays in the construction of infrastructure facilities such as parking.

Dubai Mall was originally scheduled to open on Aug. 28.

Emaar Malls was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Arabian Business, but later confirmed the new opening date in a press release on its website.

The Dubai Mall is part of the $20 billion Downtown Burj Dubai, Emaar’s 500-acre flagship project. At its centre is the Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest building.

Dubai Mall, which expects an estimated 30 million visitors within the first year of trade, will feature more than 1,200 stores and over 160 food and beverage outlets once complete.

Of the 1,200 retailers, more than 165 are opening in Dubai or the Middle East region for the very first time.

French retailer Galeries Lafayette and US department store Bloomingdale's have both confirmed they will open outlets at the mall, as has upmarket UK supermarket chain Waitrose.

Click here to download the Dubai Mall map.

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Feirand 11 years ago

I don't understand why press releases about anything to do with Dubai always state things as a 'first in the region' or in this case Hamley's first store outside the UK, which is incorrect as they have a 20,000 Sq Ft store in Jordan that has been operational for the good part of the previous six months.

ahmed 11 years ago

By the looks of it outside the Mall, it looks like the Mall will not be 'really' ready for customers for another year or so...why this rush to jumpstart half heartedly?

debdubai 11 years ago

Seriously who is in charge of the project and roadworks?? Even a person with a brain deficiency can see the mall isn't ready to receive customers. For the past 3 days, since a last minute decision was made to close all but one exit from the Emaar office park and old town area, it was more than apparent any shoppers who ventured in that traffic wouldn't bother coming back! Still this morning bright red signs were placed on SZR announcing the opening for tomorrow. I'd love to meet the person responsible for deciding to place those signs. As I sat in traffic trying to get to my office at Emaar office park I vowed to never go to that mall (even though its within walking distance of my office). Whoever placed those signs should make sure they're removed immediately and replaced with an apology for stupidity and incompetence! Roadworks should have been in place months ago and still a day before opening the temporary road system is worse than it was 6 months ago! It's as if someone forgot to plan the roadways...or no one wanted to take responsibility! Good luck Emaar and Dubai...continued poor planning, abysmal communications and very bad public relations counsel are going to cause irrepairable damage.

Eyad 11 years ago

I was just going to post that....The above store is already up and running in Amman for a while now...How come it's THE FIRST OUTSIDE UK? This is to show that not everything is said by the press is true!

Kate 11 years ago

Hamley's also has stores in Denmark and Ireland - sounds like overzealous PR person, with no one quality checking - they probably meant first in the Gulf. With regards to opening before completely ready - stores are probably already paying rent, and have shipped in stock, which for fashion brands becomes redundant after a few months - they have to start making a turnover - sometimes you have to think about the tenants as well as your customers. I am excited about the variety of brands that will be available through Dubai Mall - they have thought about their tenant mix smartly, rather than creating the copy paste environment of the others. Perhaps we should try looking at the positive for change - good luck Dubai Mall

Lee 11 years ago

Where to start??? For anyone who has lived in Dubai for the past few years, they know that "opening" a mall in Dubai does not necessarily mean that even 50% of the mall's tenants will be open. Does anyone remember the Ibn Battuta opening or the recent Festival City opening? Many tenants were not ready but that did not stop the mall from "opening". Depending on who you speak to in Dubai, both of these malls are underperforming compared to expectations. The poor openings turned off a lot of potential customers like myself. Why open a mall that is not ready and still in construction mode? It's about the rental money!! As soon as the mall is opened the clock is ticking on the rental contracts. Kate sounds like she might be an Emaar employee trying to paint a pretty picture for the current Dubai Mall debacle. Sorry Kate, landlords are not concerned about their tenant's ability to start business, sell this year's fashions, or anything like that. As far as the tenant mix, it has more to do with who is willing to pay the outrageous rents and less about a varied tenant mix. Emaar is charging more than experienced mall operators like the MAF Group (Mall of the Emirates & Deira City Centre). Has Emaar proven they can operate a successful mall? No. They have proven they can build a big mall but anyone can do this. Time will tell if the tenants can actually turn a profit in such a big mall that appears to be driven to "open" by inexperienced amateurs. Emaar should be embarrassed that their landmark mall is becoming somewhat of a joke. Let's hope they do a better job with the opening of the Burj Dubai....the world is watching!!