x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Abu Dhabi’s Al Manara plans more stores to cash in on tourism boom

The luxury watches, jewellery and accessories chain has opened its flagship unit with 17 brands in Sowwah Square’s The Galleria Mall.

Wajdi Abdul Hadi, general manager of Al Manara Jewellery, says multibrand retailing offers the chain a wider exposure to the market. Ravindranath K / The National
Wajdi Abdul Hadi, general manager of Al Manara Jewellery, says multibrand retailing offers the chain a wider exposure to the market. Ravindranath K / The National

Abu Dhabi-based Al Manara International Jewellery plans to open more upmarket stores in the UAE capital as it banks on increasing numbers of tourists.

The luxury watches, jewellery and accessories chain opened its flagship unit with 17 brands in Sowwah Square’s The Galleria Mall yesterday, and aims to open another at Yas Mall in the third quarter.

“Multibrand retail offers better variety, and gives us a wider exposure to the market,” said Wajdi Hadi, the general manager of Al Manara International Jewellery. “In Abu Dhabi, tourism as well as the local [consumer] market is growing significantly, and each market has its own requirements.” Of its 14 stores – all in Abu Dhabi – six are multibrand. “Abu Dhabi has a wealthy consumer base, and more than half of our customers are Emiratis,” he said.

The total UAE household spending is expected to reach to US$347.86 billion in 2018, up from $208.78bn last year, according to a Business Monitor International (BMI) report released last week. By 2018, around 1.16 million households will be in the US$50,000 and above annual income bracket, representing more than 99 per cent of the total, BMI said. The net annual income per household is expected to rise to $495,789 in 2018, from $388,871 last year.

The rest of Al Manara’s customers are spread across non-Arab expats, and Russian, British, German and Chinese tourists.

“Abu Dhabi has ambitious retail plans to compete with Dubai, as it looks set to establish itself as a prime destination for leisure and shopping,” said Matthew Green, an executive at the property company CBRE. Abu Dhabi has more than 0.8 million square metres of retail space under development.

In 2012, the Dubai-based timepiece retailer Ahmed Seddiqi and Sons and Abu Dhabi’s private investment company, Hassan Abdulla Mohammed Group, acquired the 39-year-old Al Manara Jewellery.

Increasing household spending and expatriate wealth besides strong tourist numbers and state investment in infrastructure were among the reasons for the sector’s growth, the research group BMI said.

The retail sector still faced challenges, however, centred around currency volatility that hampered investment planning, disparate business regulations across the emirates, the regional economy’s dependence on the cyclical oil industry that affects consumer spending, and a shortage of retail space, the report said.

Rental prices for prime high street spaces is higher in Abu Dhabi than Dubai. Whereas it costs €37 (Dh185) per square metre per month in the capital, it is €27 per sq metre per month in Dubai.

The costs for prime shopping centre rent is the same at €70 per sq metre per month in both cities, according to a report from the property consultant Colliers International in the third quarter of last year.

ssahoo@thenational.ae