Executives of Dubai’s retail sector met at Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry to discuss key opportunities and challenges facing the sector as part of a roundtable discussion to help drive growth.
Dubai Chamber, in cooperation with the recently launched Retail Business Group, organised a CEO roundtable discussion on Dubai’s retail sector due to its economic importance.
The meeting was attended by H.E. Hamad Buamim, Director General, Dubai Chamber; Mr. Mohi-Din BinHendi, Chairman, Retail Business Group; Mr. Khalid Al Tayer, Chief Executive Officer, Retail, Al Tayer Group; and Mr. Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman, Dubai Duty Free.
H.E. Buamim highlighted the strong performance of the retail sector to date, saying that rising population, expatriate wealth, strong household consumption, modern retail concepts and a thriving tourism sector, have created ideal conditions for growth.
“Dubai is highly regarded as a major shopping destination regionally and internationally due to its excellent retail facilities, wide range of local and international brands and shopping festivals that attract a number of visitors,” said H.E. Buamim. “The retail sector plays a big part in Dubai’s economy and so it is important that as the representative of the business community, Dubai Chamber works to drive growth and support the development of business,” he said.
“Today’s CEO roundtable discussion was an excellent platform for us to discuss the key challenges and opportunities that exist and a valuable step to enhancing the sector’s performance,” H.E. Buamim said.
According to a recent report by CB Richard Ellis, Dubai now equals London as the most popular retail city in the world, attracting 56% of all international retail brands surveyed and 1.2 million square metres of retail space which has come on to the market since 2006.
The city has been the main entry point into the Middle East region for a host of major international retailers, like Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as high-end fashion labels Prada and Gucci who recently signing joint ventures with Al Tayer Insignia to develop a retail network across the Middle East.
The annual shopping festivals – Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) and Dubai Shopping Festival – also help increase spending and provide stimulus to Dubai’s retail sector. A report by Business Monitor International (BMI) states that sales at the emirate’s malls increased by 17% during DSS 2009, with total revenues reaching AED 1.49 billion, up from AED 1.27 billion the previous year.
The roundtable discussion, held at Dubai Chamber’s head office, covered the strengths and weaknesses of Dubai’s retail sector, potential areas for growth and future trends. Mr. BinHendi said, “The global economy crisis is history and we are back on track, this year the retail sector will see a growth of 5%-6% in the retail industry. The opportunity of Dubai getting back on track is imminent because of the city’s geographical positioning and as it is an ultra modern city that matches, or even exceeds in quality, most cities in the world.”
Echoing his comments, Mr. McLoughlin said that Dubai Duty Free’s sales figures for this year to date were positive. “2011 is going extremely well for the operation and we are pleased that our average spend has been consistently high,” Mr. McLoughlin said. “Our sales for the first eight months of the year reached US$ 927 million, representing a 17% increase over the same period in 2010, which is fantastic. We have also witnessed significant increases in sales across all three terminals for both departing and arriving passengers; sales in T1 are up by 15%, and in T2 are up by 34% while sales in T3 are up by 17%,” he said.
“We have definitely seen a return in consumer confidence and an increase in the purchase of high-end, luxury categories, particularly by Chinese travellers. Looking ahead, we are confident that sales will continue to grow across all categories and we expect year-end sales of around USD 1.45 billion,” Mr McLoughlin said. The Retail Business Group is the 25th sector-specific group to operate under the umbrella of Dubai Chamber.