Cairo - one city “that outstrips all others” in the region
In the lead-up to RECon Middle East & North Africa, the region’s leading trade exhibition and conference for the retail real estate sector, Mr Simon Thomson Founder and Principal of Retail International and a Middle East Council of Shopping Centres (MECSC) founder, singles out Cairo as being the one city “that outstrips all others” in the region.
According to Thomson, despite the despondency of the last year, a new decade is emerging with the Middle East and North Africa region retail market relatively unscathed with some markets indicating underlying buoyancy.
Discussing the Annual Report 2010 by Retail International, Simon Thomson says:
“The Annual Report reveals some 10.3 million square metres of mall Gross Leasable Area (‘GLA’) has been completed across the GCC - up from 9.5 million square metres a year ago. The total across the MENA region is approaching 12 million square metres with a further 8.5 million square metres under development or in the detailed planning stages.”
“Whilst Dubai continues to feature, the greatest growth in percentage terms over the next five years is expected to come from Abu Dhabi and Doha in The Gulf, and Tripoli, Libya in North Africa. The latter is hardly surprising due the negligible existing base of modern organized retail in Tripoli.”
Talking about Cairo, Simon Thomson says the city outstrips others in real terms of projected new organized retail floor space with over 1.9 million square metres due to be added to the existing stock by 2015. This represents an increase of some 400% from today’s relatively low base of 622,000 sq.metres GLA to over 2.5 million sq.metres GLA within the next five years.
“With a growing population of some 80 million with more than 15 million and 4 million in Cairo and Alexandria respectively, and an expanding economy it is no surprise that the retail spotlight is shining on the parched retail landscape of Egypt.” he says.
Simon Thomson, says despite the global economic malaise it’s not all doom and gloom, highlighting that Mirdif City Centre Dubai opened as scheduled in March adding 196,000 sq. metres GLA to the Dubai retail stock.
“[Mirdif City Centre is] probably the largest single addition in the past 12 months to the supply of organised retail space in the region.”
In Lebanon, the Beirut Souks eventually opened the much anticipated southern section in October 2009, having been delayed and interrupted by war and instability over the years since planning started in the 1990s.