The Future of Retail Malls in MENA


The May 2011 edition of Jones Lang LaSalle‘s MENA House View says that the future of retail is in community concepts that provide service-oriented options reflecting the needs of the local catchment. Changing consumer shopping patterns – particularly the expansion of internet retailing – will pave the way for a new breed of retailers and different retail formats.

David Macadam, Head of Retail Division, Jones Lang LaSalle MENA commented: “The retail sector in the MENA region is undergoing a significant shift from the development of super-regional malls to smaller community focussed shopping centres. The next phase of retail development will see the emergence of community concepts, driven by accessibility, convenience and service-oriented options that meet the needs of each neighbourhood.

We also expect a greater emphasis on quality retail asset management as competition intensifies among shopping centres in some markets. To remain competitive and attractive to consumers, mall owners may explore options such as tenant remix, refurbishment and expansion opportunities.

We also anticipate changes in shopping patterns, like the expansion of online shopping, which can actually positively impact the space and experience of physical retail in the long term. Internet retailing is gaining popularity as consumers discover the cost and time saving benefits of this alternative.”

Key Findings

The retail sector across the MENA region will see a significant shift in emphasis over the next few years with far greater attention focused on community-led retail. A number of new trends are emerging within the retail sector, including:

  • The intensified competition among shopping centres in some markets has created the need for mall owners to assess re-positioning options such as tenant mix, expansion opportunities and refurbishment in order to remain competitive. Older malls that lack ‘pull’ factors such as entertainment and F&B options will ultimately suffer and some may be converted to non-retail uses.
  • Changing consumer shopping patterns and particularly the increased use of internet retailing will make way for a new breed of retailers. This trend may positively impact the retail environments required in the
    long-term. Retailers may be encouraged to provide a showcase for the products complete with knowledgeable and well trained staff.
  • The future of retail will be focused more on community concepts that provide service-oriented options that are in line with the needs of the local catchment.


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