Mall of the Emirates in Dubai is reworking its mix of stores and adding more luxury brands as the shopping centre aims to surpass 36 million visitors this year.
The world's third-largest Prada store will open next month, alongside new brands such as Longchamp, Swarovski and Kate Spade.
"The idea was to expand the luxury brands in Mall of the Emirates," said Fuad Sharaf, an asset director for shopping malls at Majid Al Futtaim, which owns the mall. "We are still seeing demand from the high-end luxury brands."
He said the addition of the fashion dome in 2010 had been a success, prompting the mall to expand the luxury stores.
Mall of the Emirates has about 80 luxury and high-fashion stores, and is adding 20 stores in total. A number of other outlets, such as Virgin Megastore, are being renovated as the mall aims to achieve a greater number of visitors than the 36 million reached last year.
"This year, our expectations are higher than that number and the first quarter shows a positive indication," said Mr Sharaf. "We are definitely looking for growth."
The 36 million figure is not unique visitors, so it includes people who repeatedly visited the mall.
Mr Sharaf is also adding mass-market brands such as Topshop from the United Kingdom and Gap and Aéropostale from the United States.
"In Mall of the Emirates, most retailers expect, when they renovate their stores, to do better sales and gain customers. They prove to customers that they are in the business of serving and look on top of the situation," he said.
The mall, which has 520 stores in total, is also expanding its two food courts to cater for the increasing number of visitors who stop to eat while out shopping.
New restaurant outlets will include International House of Pancakes, an American pancake and crêpe cafe, BurgerFuel from New Zealand, London Fish & Chips, Bombay Chowpatty, The Cheesecake Factory and Just Falafel.
"We are adding extra food court units and that's true to the demand and sales that the units have had for the last few years," said Mr Sharaf.
Developers throughout the UAE are investing in new retail space and adding stores to existing developments as the market has been growing at a rapid pace in the past year.
Emaar, one of the region's biggest developers, is adding 93,000 square metres to Dubai Mall, already the world's largest shopping and leisure centre.
Nakheel las month signed a Dh25 million (US$6.8m) deal with RSP architects from Singapore to design the Palm Mall, which is set to have 83,000 square metres of retail space and be located on the trunk of the Palm Jumeirah. It is also looking at other retail projects, including potentially doubling the size of Ibn Battuta mall.
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