By Lubna Hamdan
Retail giant Majid Al Futtaim operates 27 shopping malls across the Middle East and North Africa region
Dubai-based retail giant Majid Al Futtaim, which operates Mall of the Emirates, has waived rent fees for its tenants for the duration of the Covid-19 government mandated store closures.
In a statement to Arabian Business, it said it is keen to help retailers retain working capital while the shopping malls are closed.
"At Majid Al Futtaim, we are working closely with our shopping mall tenants to ensure that they are in a strong position to provide our customers with unforgettable shopping experiences once our malls reopen,” a spokesperson for the group said.
"This will only be possible if we help our tenants to reduce costs and preserve working capital while the malls remain temporarily closed. We have made a commitment to them that they will not pay rent during the mandated closure of their stores."
Majid Al Futtaim operates 27 shopping malls across the Middle East and North Africa region, including the City Centre brand. It also holds the exclusive franchise rights to Carrefour in over 31 countries across MENA and Asia.
"Our customers continue to have access to essential items at Carrefour stores and pharmacies at each of our malls. We remain committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our customers, employees and tenants and we continue to uphold the highest levels of hygiene and safety standards.
"We look forward to welcoming customers back to our malls once the authorities deem it safe and appropriate to do so," the retail operator added.
Since the government mandated lockdown measures, group's online retail orders have surged threefold in March compared to last year. In order to fill demand, it has had to train over 1,000 staff members from its leisure and entertainment departments and redeploy them in retail jobs.
It is also planning to launch a “click and collect” service in Dubai by which it will use available car parking space in its shopping malls to deliver Carrefour orders to customers.
If the UAE’s 24-hour lockdown is not renewed on April 19, shopping malls are expected to gradually open.
The country currently has 4,521 confirmed virus cases, with 852 recoveries and 25 deaths, but has stepped up testing in the past few days, having conducted an additional 22,000 tests and opened a total of 14 drive-through testing facilities with the ability to test up to 7,100 people daily.
In total, the country has the capacity to conduct 10,000 tests daily, including at hospitals and out-patient clinics.