The UAE has been named as one of the top 10 markets for retailers in the world.
The Retail Operations Index by the construction consultancy Arcadis found that the UAE was the eighth-most popular global location among international retailers – the highest in the Middle East.
The index was based on five key criteria: quality of infrastructure; market demand; the economic environment; the ease of setting up (including business freedoms); and the ease of operating in a country.
The UAE scored highly for the quality of its infrastructure and its economic environment (third in both categories), but lower (11th) for market demand and the ease of establishing operations. However, Arcadis said that the "quality of transportation and ease of getting up and running” is holding back other countries in the region.
The top three nations in the list were Hong Kong, Singapore and the US.
Qatar was ranked 15th, Saudi Arabia 18th and Kuwait 32nd. Egypt was the lowest-ranked nation of the 50 countries in the survey.
Arcadis said that Qatar and Saudi Arabia were ranked lower because their infrastructure was not as well developed. They are also more restrictive in terms of regulations.
"The strategic location and physical presence of a store will continue to help successful retailers in the UAE make the greatest use of their store portfolios and brand marketing to attract customers,” said Christopher Seymour, head of Middle East markets at Arcadis.
He added that the quality of infrastructure, particularly the metro system linking to malls, was "a key factor contributing to a retailer's success as the growing young population and increased number of expats and tourists make the decision on where to shop based on their accessibility from direct metro links”.
Economic stability was also considered to be a factor, as was the buoyant tourism market. For international retailers, trade freedom, foreign ownership rules and a strong logistics market were factors in helping to create a stable basis for operations.
According to JLL, Abu Dhabi currently has 2.6 million square metres of retail space, with another 250,000 sq. metres due to be delivered by the end of 2017. Dubai has 2.9 million sq. metres, with 786,000 sq. metres more due in the same period.
Last September, Dubai Holding announced plans to start work this year on the first phase of the world's biggest shopping mall, the 4.5 million sq. metres Mall of the World.
Source: The National