x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Metro boosts visits to Dubai malls

Passengers riding Dubai's Green Line have given a welcome boost to shopping malls along the route. Watch video

The Burjuman mall is enjoying strong traffic from the Metro because it is near an intersection of the read and green lines. Duncan Chard for The National
The Burjuman mall is enjoying strong traffic from the Metro because it is near an intersection of the read and green lines. Duncan Chard for The National

Shopping malls near Dubai's new Green Line have already enjoyed an increase in visitors as more customers opt to take the Metro over their cars.

BurJuman mall and Al Ghurair Centre, both undergoing major expansions, are enjoying strong traffic from the Metro because they are near intersections between the Green and Red lines.

"I think the opening of the Green Line has helped us, and we have definitely seen an increase in footfall," said Eisa Adam Ibrahim, the general manager of BurJuman mall.

"The usage of the Metro is increasing, [and] people are becoming more interested from day to day, especially at weekends."

The Green Line is Dubai's second line and has added 18 stations and 23km to the existing rail network, making a total of 47 stops.

BurJuman is next to Khalid Bin Al Waleed station in Bur Dubai and Al Ghurair is about five minutes walk from Union Square station in Deira.

Joe Abi Khalil, the marketing manager at Al Ghurair Centre, which was recently rebranded from Al Ghurair City, says it is still early days for the Green Line but about 17 per cent of visitors come via the Metro.

"We have noticed a percentage of our visitors are coming through Dubai Metro. We have witnessed an increase in footfall at the mall this year," he said.

Both malls are spending billions of dirhams on expansions to become major players and compete for some of the throngs of tourists at Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates.

Al Ghurair is spending Dh2 billion (US$544.5 million) to add 150 stores to the 200 it now accommodates and aims to become what Mr Abi Khalil deems a "regional mall".

"The bigger the shopping centre, the larger is the gravity to attract visitors. We expect our visitors to increase accordingly," he said.

BurJuman will be increased 25 per cent in size to nearly 93,000 square metres, with the addition of a cinema complex, an anchor grocery store and the expansion of the food court.

Mr Ibrahim hopes increased use of the Metro will help the mall's expansion to pay off.

"Even tourists are using the Metro because it's not one of the means that is available in other parts of the Middle East," he said. "It is attracting a different type of consumer, and at the weekends you see affluent people taking the Metro to BurJuman."

The two malls will compete with a huge amount of retail in the Metro system after the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced last month that 200 retail units were available to rent in various stations.

In the first two days of operation, 100,000 people used the Green Line, and the RTA expects that figure to be the daily usage by the end of the year.

rjones@thenational.ae