A new outlet village offering discounted designer items is set to be built in Dubai, just a stone’s throw from Mall of the Emirates.
Meraas Holding, the developer behind The Beach retail and leisure development at Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), will begin the construction of what it bills as a village of 160 shops on the intersection of Al Khail road and Umm Suqeim road next year.
The development will be built in two phases, with phase one to feature 100 upmarket brands, while phase two will consist of 60 additional outlet stores.
“The outlet village is envisioned to emerge as an iconic and a must-visit destination for visitors and residents alike,” said Meraas. “Unlike traditional ‘outlet’ malls, the outlet village will retail high-end luxury brands at discounted prices.”
Outlet villages and malls first came to prominence in the United States, offering end-of-season products at discount prices. They have been successfully replicated in Europe.
Meraas said it took its inspiration from a European village.
The UAE already boasts the Dubai Outlet Mall, a similar concept that was built in 2007 by Al Ahli Holding on the edge of the city, near Emirates Road.
It has not had the same success as some of Dubai’s other malls, but it has 240 stores offering discounts of 30 per cent to 90 per cent and said in August that retailers had benefited from a 20 per cent increase in sales this year, compared with last year.
Richard Adams, a director at Acuity Middle East, a retail and business consultancy, said the Meraas village could be a success if it attracted residents from Dubai to shop regularly.
“Over the next two to three years, we are going to see a significant shift in domestic consumption patterns,” he said. “Much of the luxury-focused weekend traffic that has been coming to Dubai from Abu Dhabi will increasingly spend in the capital’s new malls.
Across the UAE, developers are investing billions of dirhams in building shopping malls and retail districts.
In Dubai, Meraas and Nakheel are two of the sector’s biggest investors.
Meraas is developing The Beach at JBR, including an open-air cinema and 70 retail outlets. It is also constructing The Island 2 in Jumeirah, a mixed-use development, with retail outlets and an upmarket boutique resort featuring low-rise apartment buildings and a marina.
Nakheel plans to borrow Dh300 million (US$81.6m) from banks to build The Pointe, a shopping, restaurant and marina complex on the tip of the Palm Jumeirah.
It is also doubling the size of Dragon Mart and considering doing the same for Ibn Battuta Mall, as well as constructing a mall on the Palm Jumeirah.
Emaar Properties announced this year that it would expand the size of Dubai Mall by 92,000 square metres.
Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi is undergoing an even greater retail revolution as developers try to capture residents who often travel to Dubai to do their shopping.
A total of 200,000 square metres of retail space is expected to be completed by the middle of this year, on top of the 1.67 million square metres already available in the capital, according to the property consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle.
A number of malls are set to be finished this year or next in the capital and there are also new smaller developments such as Etihad Towers, Galleria at Sowwah Square and Emporium at Central Market, all forecast to open in the next couple of years.