11 July 2008

The world’s biggest shopping mall will open in Dubai next month amid predictions that it will create new investment in the high growth retail sector.

Dubai Mall expects to attract 30 million shoppers in its first year. With its 1,200 retail units, two anchor department stores and over 120 food and beverage outlets, even more visitors are likely to be attracted by access to the Burj Dubai observatory tower.

It is a classic example of a prime location being good for business according to Jim Badour, CEO Emaar Malls Group. “Dubai Mall will complement the city’s tourism growth initiatives and create a new investment destination in the high-growth retail sector, in addition to opening up new job opportunities,” he said.

Prestigious Galleries Lafayette, France’s leading lifestyle retailer, is the first department store to anchor the mall. This is the first time the retailer has opened a shop outside the European Union. The Fashion Avenue section of the mall, which is dedicated to haute couture, will carry over 70 signature stores highlighting the latest trends in global fashion.

Amongst the leading names that have confirmed opening at Fashion Avenue are Versace, Burberry, Roberto Cavalli, Hugo Boss, Loewe, Galliano, Hermes, Givenchy, Cerruti, Missoni, Tom Ford, Escada, Ermenegildo Zegna and Badgley Mischka.

The Dubai Mall will also feature the Gold Souk, the largest of its kind in the world, which will showcase a collection of over 220 of the region’s gold and jewellery retailers.

With an adjoining 5 star hotel, the opening is also expected to bring added value to those who have invested in the 450 serviced apartments.

It is also a sign, according to Badour, that there is going to be no let up in the massive growth of the retail, real estate and construction sectors. ‘These have managed to defy current global trends. The Dubai Strategic Plan, which projects economic growth at an average 11% annually through 2015, alongside the growth in tourism, will be the drivers,’ he added.

And as he sees more malls being developed to meet the growth in the Middle East retail industry, which is projected to be worth $500bn by 2010, Badour places Dubai at the front of this growth.