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Changing dynamics in the Retail Real Estate Industry calls for immediate need to revise leasing strategies

Workshop organized by MECSC focusing on 'Managing Leasing in a Tough Economic Environment' to be held from April 8-9, 2009 at Burjuman Rotana Suites, Dubai, UAE.

March 15, 2009 12:00 by

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, March 15, 2009: The Middle East Council of Shopping Centres (MECSC), the Middle East’s trade body for the retail real estate industry is organizing a two day interactive workshop titled “The Changing Dynamics of Retail Leasing Management” on April 8 – 9 at the Burjuman Rotana Suites in Dubai, UAE.

“Given the tough market conditions and the impact of the global economic slowdown that the industry is facing, it is the need of the hour for the industry to come together and formulate new strategies to help overcome the challenges and make way for future growth” says Kim Redman, Regional Director, MECSC.

Despite the global economic slowdown, the RNCOS report ‘Booming Retail Sector in the UAE’ projects total retail sales in the country to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 12% from 2008 to 2011. Analysts further name Saudi Arabia as the country with the best retail opportunities in the current situation.

But due to expected short-term oversupply of gross lease-able area (GLA) in some markets by the end of 2009, Mall and Leasing Managers need to develop new strategies to reduce the impact of sharp vacancy increases and downward pressure on rental rates.

“There is going to be a clear slowdown in upcoming projects, however this could be of benefit for the retail market to look back, being able to focus more on existing shopping malls and taking the opportunity to develop these even more” comments Maher Al Shaer, President of the MECSC. “It is expected that the GCC economy will only have a 2% slowdown in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) in 2009 with room for recovery in 2010, but there will be increased competition within the existing markets.

Workshop facilitator, Walter Kleinschmit, one of the founding members of MECSC and seasoned industry expert with more than 25 years of experience in the retail and development industry in the Middle East states “This is not a buyer’s (tenant’s) market; it is a tough market for both the landlord and the tenant”.

“Difficult times are the best time to grab market share and increase customer loyalty and support” he adds. “It’s a good time for shopping malls to diversify their retail offering. A mall that is doing better than average will hence attract retailers that also want to take advantage of the difficult times to refine their offering.”

The 2 day workshop will focus on how the various leasing functions need to act and react in tough economic conditions, and is a must attend for general managers, mall managers, leasing managers and executives, as well as for property managers and consultants dealing with the retail real estate industry. Practical examples, case studies, role plays and know-how sharing of all attendees will further enhance the learning experience for the participants.

For further information please contact the MECSC office on [email protected], telephone +9714 359 7909 or visit

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Note to editors:

The Middle East Council of Shopping Centres is based in Dubai and is a voluntary non-profit association. Established in 1994, the council has over 800 active members, presided over by Majid Saif Al Ghurair, President of the BurJuman Centre.

MECSC represents shopping mall owners, developers, marketing managers, leasing managers and specialists, retailers, consultants, property managers, financiers, accountants, government officials and industry suppliers. MECSC covers a territory of 17 countries including Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia in North Africa; Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria in the Levant; the six Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as Iran, Iraq and Yemen

For further information, please contact: Sheryl Rebello, Middle East Council of Shopping Centres, Dubai, UAE, Tel: 9714 3597909, Fax: 971 4 3558818, Email: [email protected] Website:

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