By Soren Billing
Nakheel Retail says shopper growth due to affordable product offering, but no sales figures given.
Footfall at Ibn Battuta Mall, the flagship development of Nakheel’s retail arm, rose 10 percent in the first quarter of the year as it benefited from growth in surrounding neighbourhoods and an affordable product offering.
The number of visitors to the mall grew in the quarter despite sliding consumer confidence in the UAE and a slowing tourism sector.
This was largely thanks to more apartments in the surrounding area being handed over to their owners, and Ibn Battuta’s relatively large number of affordable brands, a company official said.
“There are a several drivers for this growth – the surrounding Nakheel communities of Discovery Gardens and the Gardens are growing, so Ibn Battuta Mall now has a larger population in its immediate catchment area,” said David Thurling, managing director of Nakheel Retail Shopping Malls.
Discovery Gardens has become one of Dubai’s most affordable neighbourhoods with the completion of several new properties amid a sharp downturn in Dubai’s real estate market.
The cost of renting a studio in the area has fallen by around 50 percent in the last six months.
“In addition, we have seen a number of new stores opening this year - including @ Home, Shoe Mart, New Look, and Borders - which gives an even greater mix of quality retailers across a wide range of price points,” Thurling said.
“We also believe that it is important for a mall to offer more than simply shopping. We have focused on building a family friendly destination offering real value for money dining, leisure and entertainment facilities.”
The company said it measures the number of visitors using a 98 percent accurate technology called Shoppertrak, but did not say whether sales in the period had also risen.
Most Dubai retailers have seen sales decline this year as a result of falling tourist numbers and job losses in the real estate and financial sectors.
Alshaya Co, the largest retailer in the region by number of stores, said in March that sales in the year to date were down by 15 to 20 percent, compared with the corresponding period last year.
Nakheel said last month that it has delayed a $3 billion expansion programme by 12 months as a result of the economic downturn.
The company’s retail division unveiled an ambitious shopping mall development programme across the UAE in April last year and said it would build five new projects, including one on the Palm Jumeirah.
As a result, Australia’s largest department store operator, Myer, said that it would postpone its plans to enter the Dubai market.
But many retailers and mall operators are sticking to their ambitious expansion plans.
The developers of the 10 million sq ft Mall of Arabia have told Arabian Business that the project is going ahead as planned, and Alshaya will be rolling out 200 new stores across its 16 markets this year.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.
The truth and mere fact that Cirque D'Soliel was open in Q1 got the footfall to increase at the mall since people who came in early for the show just roamed around for a bit before going to the main destination. Please Nakheel managememnt.. we are not born yesterday...
Great results by Nakheel and some welcome positive news. To Shareef Al Malki - perhaps get your facts correct - Cirque du Soleil was an April event so fell outside Q1 2009. Common sense dictates that IBM footfall will rise as 60,000 new homes just opened next door.
The fact is Cirque D'Soliel commenced March 5th to April 5th 2009, hence it was a March event falling under Q1.
Nathan there thinks that if 60,000 new apartments have been built translates to an increase in footfall. Did it ever occur to you that discovery garden is less than half occupied. Please get your facts straight before you raise doubts as I can tell your from some indian decent fro the form of your argument. So keep your mouth shut.
@ Shareef - Can you please enlighten us as to what does being of Indian origin have to do with anything? What relevance is it exactly to the discussion at hand? Does it mean that Indians are not allowed to express their opinions and have to just "shut their mouths"? Very polite.... NOT! If AB.com can print your racist comment, they should be fair enough to print this one questioning your racist comment.
You are too intelligent Mr. Shareef. I am extremely impressed by your ability to know the "decent" of the person who writes in to you, or should we say who attempts to negate you. You are too sharp, watch out you might cut yourself. Looks like you have a special liking towards Indians. The very same guys who have IQ and EQ several light years ahead of you. But you too are high on some thing, RQ- Racist Quotient. Give me one single reason as to why you think you are superior to an Indian. Now can you please tell me what descent I am? There is a 1000 dirham reward to it..