By Claire Ferris-Lay
Firm behind some of Dubai’s largest malls is bullish on retail growth, says CEO Iyad Malas
Majid Al Futtaim Group, the firm behind three of Dubai’s biggest malls, saw retail sales across its properties rise 7-8 percent in February on the year-earlier period, its CEO said Wednesday.
“The pick-up has been in the last four, five months since November. If you compare February this year to February last year you are going to see 7-8 percent increase in retail sales,” Iyad Malas told Arabian Business on the sidelines of an event in Dubai.
The retail sector looked “positive for further growth” during the year, he said.
Dubai, renowned for the four S’s – sun, sand, sea and shopping - has been a popular destination for shopping for some years but sales were hit hard by the global financial crisis.
The sector is showing signs of a recovery on rising consumer spending with retail sales set to hit $150bn in 2015, Business Monitor International said.
MAF Properties, a subsidiary of the group, is in the middle of a $3.5bn plan that will see four new malls delivered in the MENA region by the end of 2013.
The firm will open another mall in Fujairah to add to its current UAE portfolio of Deira City Centre, Mall of the Emirates and Mirdif City Centre, in the first quarter of 2012.
Sales in Egypt, where the group operates two malls and eight Carrefour supermarkets, have risen following political unrest that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, said Malas.
“Egypt is a very small percentage of our business; Dubai is the largest part of our business. Sales in Maadi City Centre… [have] picked up to pre-crisis levels,” he said.
“Some of the Carrefour stores were closed minimally; for a couple of days, some for a week. The one in our mall in Alexandria was closed for a month but there was very little damage in that mall. It’s back to normal business.”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 Persian new year is in March. Many Iranian visiting Dubai shopping Malls to do their new year shoppings. Iran has population of 80Million.
It is -I think- a normal practice for this season to have a higher sales rate, even in Iran.
I don't think that looking in to a small bracket figures could possibly give us any practical information about longer term matters, such as recovery from crises.
Notice that there was no comment whatsoever about the the City Centre in Bahrain, which is huge and part of MAF's portfolio...