Retail Space Developments in UAE Fuel Industry Growth

  • Vibrant trend in retail property developments reinforces UAE’s reputation as a leading shopping destination
  • Smart Stores Expo introduces new Retail Leasing Pavilion

The growth of UAE’s retail industry continues to pick up the pace, drawing momentum from the impressive expansion of the local retail real estate landscape. Based on the latest A.T. Kearney Global Retail Development Index, an annual study that ranks the top-30 developing countries for expansion worldwide, UAE’s ranking improved by two notches in 2017 to land in fifth place behind India, China, Malaysia and Turkey, further strengthening the UAE’s position as the most attractive market in the Middle East.

Improvements have been driven mainly by innovation through the development of unique retail concepts and strip malls designed for specific communities. Experts said that these, complemented by retailers’ efforts to redefine shopping experience by introducing new digital technologies and improving operational efficiencies, help significantly in sustaining local consumer interest and generating wider tourist appeal.

Another real estate services firm, CBRE, revealed similar positive findings. In their 2017 report, CBRE found that the UAE has just under 2 million square metres of retail space under construction with Dubai accounting for more than three quarters of developments in the country. This puts UAE closely behind Turkey as the second most active country in terms of shopping centre development in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

Meanwhile, global property consultant Knight Frank, in its ‘UAE Market Review and Forecast 2018’, revealed that demand from international brands to open outlets in the country remains strong with the UAE ranking as the 7th most popular destination of choice for expansion amongst international retailers, further boosting the optimistic outlook for the industry.

Given the vibrant trend in retail property developments, Smart Stores Expo is introducing a new dimension to the show with the introduction of the Retail Leasing Pavilion. The trade show, devoted to showcasing the latest trends, developments and technologies shaping the future of retail, is back with its second edition scheduled on September 4 – 6 at the Dubai International Exhibition and Convention Centre. In addition to the Retail Leasing Pavilion, the 2018 edition of Smart Stores Expo will also feature three key verticals, namely build, operate and manage.

With the introduction of the Retail Leasing Pavilion, property firms and mall developers can make use of this platform to showcase their upcoming retail projects and connect with retailers who will be visiting the show.

“Smart Stores Expo has been conceptualized in such a way that it will cater to all aspects of the retail industry. The idea is to have a showcase of solutions, products, services and now, even retail spaces, all under one roof. The key to ensuring a redefined shopping experience to customers not only lies in innovative technologies but in ensuring that you have the right space at the right location. With the growing number of retail spaces available for lease, developers can use Smart Stores Expo as a platform to give their property an extra edge to top retailers in the industry visiting the show,” said Jayaraman Nair, Chairman, VIS Exhibitions and Conferences.

First launched in Abu Dhabi in 2016, Smart Stores Expo has been successful in attracting some of the region’s most influential retailers and solution providers as exhibitors. “This year’s edition of Smart Stores Expo is expected to be twice as big as the inaugural show. We aim to attract more than 60 exhibitors and over 3,000 visitors throughout its three-day run. Also for the first time, the show will feature talks and panel discussions from a line-up of local and international industry experts. They will discuss emerging trends and market challenges, covering topics such as big data analytics and innovative store design concepts. This makes Smart Stores Expo the definitive event for professionals and key decision makers in the retail market,” added Nair.


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