Al Wahda Mall is set to open more than 200 new stores on Saturday after leasing 90 per cent of the retail space in a major extension of the Abu Dhabi shopping centre.
The mall will double in size, with additional shops and food and beverage outlets, including a cinema and fitness centre, all adding to the 200 stores that are already operating there.
Virgin Megastore, H&M, American Eagle Outfitters and Calvin Klein will be among the major new brands in the mall.
“We are 90 per cent leased actually,” said Raja Abdulkhader, the director of Line Investment & Properties, part of Emke Group, the mall’s developer and the owner of Lulu Hypermarket. “It is now just a few small shops left.”
Mr Abdulkhader said the mall would have a big launch later next month, but declined to offer further details.
Already, major Middle East retailers, operating a wide range of international brands, have given their seal of approval to the project, confirming a host of stores to be opened next week.
Kuwait’s MH Alshaya has agreed to open 14 brands within Al Wahda, including Pottery Barn Kids, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge and Bath & Body Works.Azadea Group, from Lebanon, is also offering brands such as Pull&Bear, Bershka, Pepe Jeans, Jules, Piazza Italia, Tezenis and George, the budget value clothing line.
Landmark Group and Liwa Trading Enterprises have also signed up a number of their brands, such as Reiss, New Look and Gant.
M&Co, a Scottish fashion retailer with nearly 300 stores across the United Kingdom, will be the anchor clothing store in the new development, alongside BHS, another British department store.
The Al Wahda extension is the start of a wave of new or extended malls and shopping centres across Abu Dhabi that will change the retail landscape of the capital.
Stores in areas outside malls currently dominate the market in the capital, accounting for half of the total retail supply.
But that will change as retail space in the capital is set to grow from 1.68 million square metres to 2.3 million by the end of 2014, according to Jones Lang LaSalle, the property specialist.
It expects about 300,000 sq metres of retail space could enter the market this year, although some mall projects could be delayed.
Deerfields Town Square in Al Bahia, Emporium Mall at Central Market and Capital Mall are all expected to open their doors this year.
“The extension at Al Wahda Mall is forecast to thrust the mall to the forefront of the shopping experience in Abu Dhabi with a large spectrum of shopping experiences under one roof”, Yusuff Ali, the managing director of Lulu Group, the mall’s developer said earlier this year as he announced the brands going into the extension.
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