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The Future of Dubai Retail Market - JLL

The retail market in Dubai began modestly  in the 1990s with Burjuman, Al Ghurair Centre and Deira City Centre being the prominent malls. From that time the retail market has progressed significantly and  today Dubai is home to some of the world’s best malls such as Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates and other impressive developments to make what we call Dubai today.

It has been a long journey from the souks of old Dubai to international standard super regional malls, and the way this transition has been managed has brought Dubai into the spotlight of  retail development globally. Today, Dubai’s retail landscape is undergoing another transition, this time from standard malls to more innovative and creative retail developments that aim to encapsulate the entertainment, leisure, shopping and gastronomic experiences. Some examples of these more innovative retail concepts are The Beach by Meraas and the recently announced Mall of the World and Dubai Canal developments. The extension strategies for Citywalk are another example, where trendy box retail, the first of its kind in Dubai, is under construction.

Existing retail developments are witnessing this evolution and many have chosen to upgrade their malls to meet the coming competitive challenges. Burjuman Centre and Wafi Mall are repositioning while Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Mall and Ibn Battuta Mall have expansion strategies in place to accommodate the increasing and evolving retail demand.

This change is not just limited to mega retail projects but can also be seen with community sized retail popping up in proximity to major residential communities to provide consumers with shopping ease, a sense of community and quick access to goods that serve their everyday needs. The Mall in Jumeirah is a perfect example of an upcoming upscale community centre that is aiming to fill this gap in the market.

As developers gain insight into the consumer mind they understand that providing the right experience in terms of the five senses, customer service, ambience and decor are just as crucial for customers as the accessibility, parking, location and tenant mix.

Developers will also be forced to distinguish themselves and add character to their retail projects to create their own place in the market.  They need to attract tourists worldwide and increase retail spend. 

The government of UAE works to promote UAE’s image as a stimulating destination globally by providing enriching experiences, including the impressive display of fireworks every year at Burj Khalifa on New Year’s Eve, the hosting of Expo 2020 and Formula One. Dubai has also uniquely succeeded in bringing a piece of every country into its own city through Global Village, which displays merchandise from around the world, creating a one stop shop for tourists to see and purchase a variety of international products in one place. Additionally attractive sales such as the Dubai Shopping Festival and Dubai Summer Surprises occur annually to further attract retail spend from around the world, especially from other Middle Eastern countries.

JLL’s interaction with prominent regional real estate clients has given us  insight into initiatives they are taking to be on the forefront of innovation. In this new age where consumers hold the power and where change is the only constant, we expect to see Dubai aiming to further outdo itself and competitively execute projects that thrill and excite.

Retail Supply

Current Supply (2011 - 2014)

Dubai Commercial Market Supply 2011 - 2014

Future Supply (2015 - 2017)

Dubai Commercial Market Supply 2015 - 2017

SOURCE: JLL Dubai Real Estate Market Overview - Q4 2014