Are the Gulf’s over-the-top retail centers doomed? Trends magazine reports.
April 11, 2010 4:20 by Emily Meredith
Several Dubai members of the Middle East Council of Shopping Centers are now in talks with Dubai officials to arrange meetings that would address planning of future developments. “Now we need to take it seriously,” says Al Shaer. “We need everybody to do good business. We don’t want people to close down because that will affect the mall, retailers, investors – everybody.”
Bouyer’s call for intervention from the government includes an emphasis on ensuring residents are comfortable in establishing homes in the region. With the exception of Saudi Arabia, foreign workers comprise a significant portion of the population. “Eighty-five percent of the population in the U.A.E. is expatriate, out of which 43 percent is repatriating its savings outside of the U.A.E,” says Bouyer. This significantly reduces the expenditure of those expatriates. But whatever the makeup of the population, Bouyer predicts shopping center developers will move away from the big box format of the last few years. Presently, 84 percent of the leasable area in Dubai is in large malls, according to GRMC’s Tunbridge.