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Tue 4 Nov 2008 02:41 PM

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First look inside the new Dubai Mall

Long awaited shopping mall, one of the world's largest, finally opens to the public following double delay.

This is the first view inside the long-awaited Dubai Mall, which opened to the public on Tuesday afternoon.

The much-delayed Dubai Mall opened its doors at 2pm but analysts have questioned how successful the mall will be given the current economic climate.

The mall, one of the biggest in the world at 12.1 million square feet, will feature more than 1,200 stores and over 160 food and beverage outlets once complete. On day one, approximately 600 outlets were expected to be open to shoppers.Arabian Business reporter Soren Billing, who was one of the first people inside the mall during a press tour on Tuesday morning, said: "A lot of the stores have yet to open, but the Dubai Mall is definitely worth a visit. The developers have put a lot of effort into making the mall about more than just shopping.

"According to our guide, the corridors have been made wider in order to acommodate large Arab families. There is also more daylight than in many of the other malls, giving parts of it a bit of an "outside" feel.

"The aquarium and discovery centres were impressive but some of the animals looked a little cramped."

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.

The mall is being built by Emaar Malls Group and is part of the $20 billion Downtown Burj Dubai, Emaar Properties’ 500-acre flagship project. At its centre is the Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest building.

Mr Mohamed Ali Alabbar, chairman, Emaar Properties, said: “The Dubai Mall is Dubai’s tribute to the world of retail and leisure.

"With the mall, we have set a strong platform for growth for the retail sector, one that reflects Dubai’s forward-looking model of creating robust business opportunities for enterprises from around the world.

"The Dubai Mall is, indeed, a confident affirmation of the strong economic fundamentals of the Dubai economy.”

Dubai Aquarium and Discovery Centre will feature more than 33,000 aquatic animals including sharks and rays, while the Discovery Centre is an educational window to marine life’s myriad attractions.

The Gold Souk with 220 retailers is designed to reflect traditional Arab architectural ethos, and is a celebration of Dubai’s regional hub status in gold and jewellery trade.

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Ahmed 11 years ago

According to our guide, the corridors have been made wider in order to accommodate large Arab families. It really sounds completely wrong, as if Arab families are already struggling in other "not so large corridored" Malls. Unbelievable

Cutter 11 years ago

The pics look like it could be any one of the tens of thousands of malls around the world. I wouldn't drive across town to visit another cookie cutter mall, and definitely wouldn't travel to another country to visit a mall. instead of another mall, why not develop more parks and beachses? Unfortunately I already know the answer...there is no revenue generated when you give the people free facilities to enjoy themselves.

Graham Plater 11 years ago

Cutter rightly points out that "there is no revenue generated when you give the people free facilities to enjoy themselves." Well, look at it this way - you can still enter a mall for free. I wonder how long it will take before someone hits upon the idea of charging an admission fee......

Graham Plater 11 years ago

Maybe the corridors referred to by Ahmed - the ones "made wider in order to accommodate large Arab families" - are an indication of the obesity problem in the Gulf...?

Cutter 11 years ago

Actually Graham, In Qatar labourers aren't allowed in most malls on weekends because they don't spend enough money. So in Qatar if you 'look' like you are going to spend money you are allowed in. If ou 'look' like you can't afford anything, you will be turned away.

Graham Plater 11 years ago

Hi Cutter - I have been prevented from entering a mall in KSA whilst in full business attire but I have little experience of shopping in Qatar. However, come to think of it I do not recall having ever seen a labourer in BurJuman, Wafi Mall, Mall of the Emirates or any of Dubai's "better" malls on any day of the week. I don't know whether this is a result of official policy or whether "undesiderable" shoppers are quietly turned away by Security, your guess is as good as mine...

sid 11 years ago

I understand both sides of the argument about not allowing labourers into the shopping centres. On the one hand, imagine if you went to a upscale shopping mall, where they have spent millions of dollars to portray a certain image, and you were confronted with groups of 10, 20, 50 laborers. It's not very attractive. I say that from a business owner's point of view. I do understand and appreciate the fact that given the huge number of labourers in any of the ME countries, and the fact that they have no money to entertain themselves, they WOULD come to the shopping centres by the thousands. It is discrimination, but if any of us lamenting the issue were the mall owners I doubt that we would do differently. On the other hand, the problem with racism is well and truly alive in this region. And the labourers being denied entry into the shopping centres is just the tip of the iceberg. The problem is that we have people who work 80 hours a week for 800 Dhs a month. And then we have people who spend 150,000 Dhs on a watch and not even think about it. There's just too much of a gap between the classes here to try to make sense out of any of this.

james 11 years ago

Any well-planned govt will take into consideration the profile of its citizens and guests (expats) and hence develop a city (or even country) to meet the appropriate needs. While you have the high-end malls to cater to the well-off, you should also have grassroot or community-based malls/outlets to cater to the other end of the society. This is not racism, but very fact of life, and can be resolve amicably by being accomodating. No one shoe size fits all!

paul. 11 years ago

Maybe the govt should look outside the mall and the chaos they are causing on the roads, infrastructure first should be the key. Why build something that takes one hour to get in, and another hour to get out, and cause so much more traffic for everyone to sit in right in the centre of Dubai. Just when Salik had reduced the traffic, you come up with something that makes it all come back again. Good job guys, really well thought out!

Dave H 11 years ago

Eh Paul? When did that happen? I must have missed that one.