Dubai's Emaar Properties said Tuesday its net profit soared 55 percent in the first quarter on a yearly basis, thanks to surging real estate sales and rising retail revenues. The builder of the world's largest tower, the Burj Khalifa, said net profit in the first three months of 2014 reached 863 million dirhams ($235 million), as revenues rose seven percent to $614 million. An "outstanding performance" by core sectors of the Dubai economy, including aviation, trade, tourism, trade and hospitality, had "further energised Emaar's growth," said chairman Mohamed Alabbar. This had been "highlighted by the increased number of international investors in our projects," said Alabbar. "The increase in tourist arrivals to Dubai and the positive market sentiment have catalysed the growth of our shopping malls and hospitality business too, which contribute significantly to our recurring revenues," he added. Emaar said its shopping malls, retail and hospitality contributed $366 million in recurring revenues in the first quarter, nearly 60 percent of total revenues, and 15 percent up from the first quarter last year. The company said it launched new real estate projects in Dubai, as the sector that was hard hit by the global financial crisis made a strong recovery. Emaar said the value of total property sales surged 94 percent to $1.61 billion, compared with $828 million in the first quarter of 2013. It cited a "strong investor interest from international markets."