Dubai has ‘more than enough’ malls, says BinHendi

Dubai cannot sustain any more mega-malls in an already
glutted retail market, the head of one of the UAE’s largest retail conglomerates
said Monday.

“[Dubai has] more than enough malls,” Mohi-Din BinHendi,
president of BinHendi Enterprises, told the 4th Arabian Business Forum in
Dubai
.

“If anyone wants to add another mall, they need to visit a
psychiatrist.”

The UAE’s trade and tourism hub, Dubai is the shopping capital
of the Middle East. A report by consultancy CB Richard Ellis last year found
the emirate ranks second only to Hong Kong for its percentage of luxury fashion
brands.  


Much of these sales are driven by Dubai’s tourism trade,
said BinHendi, particularly a rise in visitors from the increasingly wealthy
emerging markets.

 “The Chinese have
started coming here – they come in big groups, and the Russians are still very
prominent shoppers, as are the Indians,” he said.

While Dubai may not have room for another mega mall,
BinHendi said the city could support smaller, niche malls, such as those
dedicated to furniture or hardware.

BurJuman shopping centre, one of Dubai’s oldest malls, announced
plans earlier this month for a major renovation aimed at increasing retail
space by more than a fifth. The overhaul will free up space for a string of
high fashion brands, the mall said, and the inclusion of a cinema complex,
grocery store and extended food court.

Dubai is also set to play host to the world’s largest
shopping centre should plans to build the Mall of Arabia, part of the delayed
Dubailand complex, come to fruition.

The mall, part of the $5bn City of Arabia Project within
Dubailand, was scheduled to open in the last quarter of 2010 but work has
stalled in the wake of the emirate’s real estate crash.

Original plans show the mall featuring four million sq ft of
gross leasable retail space, more than 1,000 retail outlets and access to the
dinosaur-themed Restless Planet park.