x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Long-delayed Dubai Mall to open Tuesday

More than 600 new retail outlets will be open for trade from 2pm on Tuesday, many making their Middle East debut.

More than 600 new retail outlets will be open for trade at the long-delayed Dubai Mall from 2pm on Tuesday, many of which will be making their Middle East debut. Among the new retailers to the region are the French retailer Galeries Lafayette, American high-end department store Bloomingdale's, London's famous toy store Hamleys and UK luxury supermarket chain Waitrose. The mall's general manager, Yousif Al Ali, said he expected about 30 million visitors in the centre's first year of operation.

The mall, a centrepiece of the developer's "downtown" Dubai project, had been scheduled to open last Thursday, but a last-minute delay pushed the partial opening date for half the scheduled number of stores to Tuesday. It was the latest in a series of delays to the mall's completion. The developer said it needed to properly ensure the readiness of the building's infrastructure. "With everything a person needs under one roof - be it shopping, entertainment or leisure - a trip to The Dubai Mall can be a day out for all the family," said Mr Ali.

With more than 1,200 stores, the world's largest indoor gold souk, an Olympic-size ice skating rink, 22-screen cinema, plus the world's largest aquarium, together spanning an area equivalent to 50 football pitches, the mall will be one of the largest in the world and replaces Majid Al Futtaim's Mall of the Emirates as the biggest in Dubai. Dubai Mall has a total area of 1.12 million square metres, with 548,000 sqm of leasable retail space. About 4.2 million sqm of mall space is being built in Dubai, including the Mall of Arabia in Dubailand, which at 930,000 sqm will be bigger than the Emaar project when it opens in 2010.

Worth about Dh367 billion (US$100bn), the retail sector is a major driving force of the economies of the GCC and has become the second-largest non-oil industry in the region, according to official estimates. vsalama@thenational.ae