x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Mall of the Emirates among most profitable shopping centres in the world

Mall of the Emirates is among the world's most lucrative shopping centres, outperforming rivals in Los Angeles and Orlando.

Every retail outlet at the Mall of the Emirates opened for 24 hours on Thursday. The around-the-clock opening hours will run for three weekends - until November 2 - as part of the Eid in Dubai shopping festival. Pawan Singh / The National
Every retail outlet at the Mall of the Emirates opened for 24 hours on Thursday. The around-the-clock opening hours will run for three weekends - until November 2 - as part of the Eid in Dubai shopping festival. Pawan Singh / The National

Mall of the Emirates is among the world's most lucrative shopping centres, outperforming rivals in Los Angeles and Florida.

The mall in Dubai has been ranked seventh in a list of the world's 15 most productive malls in an annual survey by the International Council of Shopping Centres. It was found to be almost three times more profitable than the industry average, earning more than US$1,400 (Dh5,142) per square foot and was the only Middle East mall to make the index.

Fuad Sharaf, the senior director for asset management at Majid Al Futtaim Properties, said there were multiple reasons for the mall's success, including its location and design.

"Mall of the Emirates was [our seventh] project. So definitely we learned a lot. We improved. We came up with new ideas," he said. "Ski Dubai after seven years still looks like a unique idea."

In 2010, the mall was expanded by about 11,000 square metres, adding luxury brands, coffee shops and restaurants.

Analysts said the mix of retailers on offer is part of the reason the centre manages to outperform Dubai Mall, which earlier this year claimed to be the world's most-visited shopping and leisure destination.

Mall of the Emirates attracts a large number of Emiratis and customers from the larger GCC.

"Significant numbers of affluent Emiratis found that they didn't have the offerings they were looking for in Abu Dhabi and drove up to Mall of the Emirates," said Richard Adams of Acuity Middle East, a market research company.

"The mall catered to their needs enabling them to park in specialised areas and pass directly into luxury fashion areas like the fashion dome."

Mr Adams added that the mall had also benefited from the fact that it was linked to the Dubai Metro system, thereby helping to drive up the number of visitors.

Since opening in 2005, visits have increased by an average of 8 per cent to 10 per cent annually.

The mall welcomed more than 20 million visitors in the first half of this year and was on track to surpass last year's total of 36 million.

The mall is home to 535 international retailers, including more than 80 luxury stores, and there are currently more than 160 international brands on the waiting list for space.

"That gives you an indication of how successful Mall of the Emirates is," said Mr Sharaf. "Plus we have lots of demand from luxury retailers to expand their stores."

gduncan@thenational.ae