By Andy Sambidge
2011 Retail Apparel Index shows UAE residents spend average of $785 per year on new clothes
The UAE has the highest fashion clothing sales per capita per year in the developing world, according to a new report by consultants AT Kearney.
The 2011 Retail Apparel Index also said three of the top five fashion retail markets in the developing world in 2011 are in the Gulf region.
It said the UAE was second in the rankings which are based on terms of clothing market attractiveness, levels of retail development and country risk.
It said that the UAE has the highest clothing sales per capita at $785 per year while the UAE also scored highest for the number of international retailers operating in the country.
Only China ranked higher in the overall analysis of more than 30 fashion clothing markets, published as part of AT Kearney's Global Retail Development Index (GRDI).
Kuwait ranked third in the index, with Saudi Arabia in fifth while Russia (fourth) completed the top five.
"The UAE takes second place thanks to its population's high disposable income and immense fashion consciousness...and the country's role as a MENA commerce hub," the report said.
It added that the UAE has become a preferred point for entering the overall Middle East and North Africa market and for testing new products.
Dubai has become a hotbed for upscale retailers with Prada and Gucci recently signing joing ventures with Al Tayer Insignia to develop a retail network across the Middle East.
AT Kearney said Kuwait was seeing "significant expansion" in retail real estate, with Kuwait City "becoming a fashion hub".
The report said that retail space had grown from just 345,000 sq m in 2006 to 1.15m sq m last year.
Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE all also feature among the most successful general retail markets in the developing world, according to AT Kearney's GRDI.
However, the UAE fell two places compared to the 2010 list as the report said its retail sector was "becoming saturated" with foreign brands flooding the market.
The AT Kearney 2011 Global Retail Development Index is an annual study that analyses 25 macroeconomic and retail-specific variables.
It said that while Asia is leading the global recovery, South America has made the biggest jump in the 2011 retail index. Brazil topped the rankings with Uruguay second and Chile in third place.
In April, CB Richard Ellis said Dubai was now the most sought after location for expansion for international big name retailers, alongside London.
CBRE's annual survey - which mapped the global footprint of 323 of the world's top retailers across 73 countries - found that Middle East markets were attracting an increasing number of big name retailers and are competing with established global retail centres.
It said Dubai now shared the top position with London as the most targeted retail destination.
Kuwait City and Riyadh also maintained key positions in the top 20 ahead of many established destinations.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.