Dubai: Residents and tourists in Dubai’s Al Shindagha area now have a new mall where they can shop, dine or watch a film.
City Centre Al Shindagha, which opened its doors on Monday, features 75 stores, such as a Carrefour hypermarket, Splash, Babyshop, and consumer electronics store Sharaf DG, as well as 10 fast food restaurants and four cafes. In terms of entertainment centres, the mall also includes a Magic Planet and a seven-screen Vox Cinemas. The shopping centre covers 24,500 square metres of gross leasable area (GLA).
Hamad Al Lawati, manager of community malls at Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) Properties, said that there is a demand for the mall, which has a value of more than Dh150 million, in Al Shindagha.
“We have seen a need [for the mall] in the Al Shindagha area. It is a dense area from a population point of view. There are a lot of people living here, a lot of tourists come to this area and there are a lot of offices here,” he told Gulf News at City Centre Al Shindagha on Monday.
Colin Beaton, managing director of retail consultancy Limelight Creative Services, said that there is a focus now on developing community malls in Dubai.
“For the last decade, there has been a focus on big format malls in Dubai. This led to pent up demand for smaller malls,” he said.
The mall’s opening comes at a time when retail sales have softened in the country due to low oil prices and a strong dollar, which the Emirati dirham is pegged to, against currencies like the euro and rouble, which have made a holiday in the country more expensive for European and Russian tourists.
The UAE’s retail sector is expected to expand this year, but at a slower rate compared to 2015. Consultancy Euromonitor International forecasts the market’s value to grow 7 per cent to $53.7 billion [Dh197 billion] this year, lower than the 8 per cent rate in 2015.
Beaton said that community malls are “less susceptible to economic downturns” since they offer products and services that people need rather than discretionary goods.