By Soren Billing
Nakheel Retail upbeat on future as phase 1 of improvement works are completed.
The number of visitors to Dubai’s Ibn Battuta Mall rose by 10 percent on the year in January, and demand for retail space continues to be strong, owner Nakheel Retail has said.
“Ibn Battuta Mall has just recorded a 25 percent increase in traffic in 2008, with a further 10 percent increase in footfall during January 2009 over the same month last year,” said David Thurling, managing director of Nakheel Retail Shopping Malls.
Demand for retail space remains strong with the opening of several new stores including @ Home, Shoe Mart and New Look, the company said.
American bookstore chain Borders is scheduled to open a new outlet in the mall within the next three weeks.
“In order to accommodate the continuing growth in footfall at Dragon Mart, Nakheel Retail has completed the first phase of upgrade works to the centre’s car park, public toilets and prayer rooms with plans well advanced for the installation of a new international food court,” Thurling said.
Nakheel Retail will also announce a new hypermarket concept at Dragon Mart in April, it said.
The company’s upbeat comments stand in sharp contrast to reports that Dubai retailers have seen a sales fall of up to 40 percent between December and January.
One source, who owns multiple outlets in several different malls, said revenue had been unaffected by this year’s shopping festival.
Gulf retailers are suffering as tourism slows and a wave of layoffs in the real estate and financial sectors prompts consumers to reduce discretionary spending amid growing job insecurity.For all the latest retail news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
This all sounds good but it really is NOT impressive... -After Mall of the Emirates opened the footfall & sales at IBN Battuta CRASHED so to say 2008 was 25% higher than 2007 is not that impressive since 2007 was probably really, really bad! -The percentage of 25% sounds impressive but what are the actual numbers. I am aware of some of the retailers sales at IBN Battuta and they are lower than other Dubai Shopping Malls. -Who is counted in the "footfall" numbers? The laborers who venture over to the mall on the weekends??? -Footfall does not equate to "sales". A mall can have 50,000 visitors a day but if no one is buying, who cares how many people are walking around "window shopping" instead of MONEY shopping!
I do support Joe's opinion on that news, and I don't blame Nakheel or any other developer for trying desperately to save the un-saveable, anyway if I were in their place, I would do the same, but maybe in more professional and honest way.
The state of the roads into Abu Dhabi from Khalifa City etc means that lots of people there are choosing to head to Ibn Battuta for their shopping fix instead of the now difficult to get to Marina Mall and the virtually impossible to get home from Abu Dhabi Mall. When the roads get better maybe Nakheel will see a drop in numbers?
I'm all for bashing potentially phoney numbers, but Joe is talking rubbish: 1) Ibn Battuta opened in April 2005, and Mall of the Emirates opened in September 2005, so judging footfall changes in two recently-opened malls is not very helpful, vis a vis your statement that Ibn Battuta footfall "crashed" (numbers please?). 2) What does 2007 have to do with anything? Why would 2007 be a really bad year? If you were talking about 2006 - AFTER the supposed crash in Ibn Battuta numbers - vs 2007, then that might be more valid. Again: "really, really, bad"? Numbers? Even just percentages would be fine... 3) Yes, on "footfall" versus sales, footfall is not necessarily a helpful number. But again - where are YOUR numbers? You know sales are down at retailers - give us a number, if not the name. 4) The whole "doom and gloom" thing is getting tedious - and we're perfectly capable of talking ourselves INTO a recession by focusing purely on the negative. From what I can see, a lot of retail and - especially - F&B outlets in Dubai are doing very well at the moment. If Nakheel wants to announce a positive bit of news - assuming it's not completely made-up - then I'm happy to see it, even if may not be that helpful.
Let me guess Eliot....are you a Nakheel employee? You know as well as I do that no one has actual footfall "numbers" except the higher up executives in these mall companies. As far as sales numbers, here is what I recommend you do... 1) Ring Bin Hendi Enterprises and ask them for their numbers for Cafe Havana, Japengo, Hugo Boss, etc. compared to their units at Mall of the Emirates and Deira City Centre. Their numbers are way down at IBN Battuta whether you believe it or not. 2) Starbucks has 3 locations in IBN Battuta but their sales are down compared to Mall of the Emirates and Deira City Centre. 3) Ring any of the food court retailers and ask them how their sales are compared to their locations in other parts of Dubai...go ahead Eliot. 4) Why don't you ring Geant and ask them if they are doing as well as Carrefour in Mall of the Emirates or Deira City Centre? Why do you think Geant has not expanded like Carrefour? Could it be because their first location has been a big disappointment?? 5) If you really want numbers, why don't you ask Nakheel to publish their numbers for IBN Battuta??? Go directly to the source! Regarding the opening of the IBN Battuta vs. Mall of the Emirates, did every shop open on the dates you gave??? NO! You can complain that Joe did not give all the information you would like but at least he did not give misleading dates like you have done. Eliot, why don't you visit IBN Battuta at 3pm on Friday then drive down to Mall of the Emirates.....'nuff said!
I have no numbers and figures of the business development of Ibn Battuta Mall. But as it is my neightborhood mall and I am there at twice a week at least I must say that the mall does bad more than a year already. Many shops closed and were not replaced with new ones, some parts of the mall always look deserted and recently there are clearly less tourists and expats in the mall. Maybe it has to do with harsh competition, maybe with the masses of workers from the labour camps nearby. I think, the concept of Ibn Battuta Mall is still good, but the attractivity of the shops is lower than at other Malls. And never ending construction sites around the mall do their harm as well.
Does anyone know how they measure footfall? Are there people with clipboards counting the visitors? Or is it possible that they're all made up, as with most statistics in this place? Still not as impressive as Dubai Mall's claim that it will have 30 million visitors in its first year - that's about 20 million more people than visit Dubai in a year.
I live next to this mall, and the only thing I see is declining footfall. Wonder where they are getting these numbers. Mostly, this mall seems completely secluded, and isolated. Please dont give us inaccurate numbers.
I could quite easily believe this. Sure, Ibn Battuta isn't as busy as MoE, but think about it. Now the property market's struggling and Discovery Gardens is the only place in town offering cheap accommodation in 12 cheques, everyone's moving there - and Ibn Battuta is the only shopping centre in the area. Seriously, in my cluster alone there must be at least 10 new people moving in every weekend and the place is filling up quick.