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Mall of the Emirates opens for business
Source: BI-ME , Author: Trevor Lloyd-Jones
Posted: Wed September 28, 2005 12:00 am

UAE. Dubai's long-awaited landmark, Mall of the Emirates, the largest shopping mall outside North America, opens for business today.

The new centre  - with a total size equivalent to 73 football pitches - will be home to over 400 retailers, 65 restaurants, a huge indoor ski slope called Ski Dubai, a 14-screen Cinestar cinema, Magic Planet, which will be the largest indoor family entertainment centre in Dubai, the new Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre, and a five-star Kempinski Hotel.

The mall, which is situated off Shaikh Zayed Road, is owned by Majid Al Futtaim Investments (MAF) and has been built in just under two years at a cost of AED3 billion. It will be the fourth mall, including the Deira City Centre, owned by MAF in the UAE and the seventh in the region.

Francois de Montaudouin, CEO of MAF, commented to local reporters yesterday: "The mall is located in what we call the 'New Dubai'. Today we have the largest mall outside North America. It will be different because it will cater for every age group and social class."

At the heart of ‘New Dubai’ to the West of the old centre the mall will cater to, amongst other districts, the rapidly growing residential centres like The Hills, Barsha, Jumeirah Lake Towers and Jumeirah Islands.

The official opening of the mall will not take place until it is completely finished, which is scheduled to be April 2006 and will be the fruits of the labour of around 10,000 workmen.

"It is going to work in phases. We are now going to open about 70% of the space. During October every week more stores will open with the idea that by the end of Ramadan all the stores will be open. The last piece will be in April with a theatre and arts centre," de Montaudouin added.

Though parts of the area surrounding the mall still resemble a building site, the inside presents a different picture, with many stores ready to open their doors to the public. The architecture in the three-storey complex combines Arabic and Mediterranean influences, with each level linked to a car park.

Among the many interesting retailer initiatives that will open to the public today, Jumbo Electronics will have its largest-ever consumer electronics store. At 100,000 square feet, the store layout has been conceptualised keeping in mind McKinsey & Company's recommendations on retailing.

This is Jumbo's 27th store in the UAE, and it will house 50 major brands including Sony, Nokia, Hewlett-Packard, Apple, Acer, Casio, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson.

Another Dubai-based company, the Landmark Group has united its five leading retail concepts - Babyshop, Shoe Mart, Splash, Home Centre and Lifestyle - into a single destination-store for the Mall of the Emirates. Called Centrepoint, the new store will be the largest non-food store in the mall and at 140,400 square feet, the equivalent of 66 tennis courts, it will occupy 7% of the mall’s total floor space.

Vipen Sethi, Group Director-Finance of the Landmark Group, says: “Centrepoint will redefine the spirit of shopping. It will offer the same great value for money in a visually exciting destination for the whole family to enjoy.” 

Centrepoint features a completely new brand identity, upgraded store design and shop fit outs and value-added customer service elements. Other Centrepoint stores will open on Trade Centre Road next to the Burjuman Centre in October this year, at Al Jimi mall in Al Ain in December, and a massive 215,000 square foot store next to Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi Breakwater, in March 2006. By the end of next year there will be approximately 46 Centrepoint stores operating across the GCC and Jordan.

Centrepoint will be housed over two floors at Mall of the Emirates with Home Centre being positioned on the upper floor. Separate zones within Centrepoint will be devoted to the company's own-brands of fashion from Splash and footwear from Shoe Mart. Home Centre will compliment the wide range of accessories, objects d’art and beauty products from Lifestyle, and everything for babies and children from Babyshop.

Centrepoint is being positioned as "a fashionable international shopping destination that gives a unique experience and has something for the entire family. The Centrepoint identity is an umbrella brand that has been designed to reflect the dynamism and diversity of the brands it represents,” said Sethi.

In terms of luxury brands two of the region's largest licensees for luxury goods such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Polo Ralph Lauren are opening in two separate dedicated concourses, each operated by the Chalhoub Group and Al Tayer Group. Chalhoub will also be present with its own Faces perfumery store.

Harvey Nichols is also opening its first store in the UAE at the Mall of Emirates soon. The UK company, which has outlets in Edinburgh, London and Leeds, has issued the UAE licence to the Al Tayer Group, a leading and diversified Dubai-based business group.

Spread over 120,000 square feet, the store represents a diverse portfolio of exclusive brands in fashion, fragrance, beauty and home and will include a gourmet food market and restaurants.

Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, Chairman and CEO of Al Tayer, said recently that securing the exclusive licence for the Harvey Nichols brand in the UAE meant the Al Tayer group would be continuing the expansion of its high-end lifestyle brands portfolio.

"It is our endeavour to make a firm commitment to bringing the best brands to the UAE and strengthen its image as the premier global destination for shopping and tourism," said Al Tayer.

The Dubai store will be Harvey Nichols’ second outlet outside the UK. The other one is in Riyadh, in Saudi Arabia, with Kingdom Holdings. Joseph Wan, the CEO at Harvey Nichols - which started trading in 1813 - is known to be weighing further openings for Harvey Nichols in other parts of the region.

The family-owned Al Tayer group was established in 1979 and is among the UAE’s leading diverse business groups. Its fashion and jewellery division represents some of the world’s most exclusive brands, including Bvlgari, Bottega Veneta, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Loro Piana, Sergio Rossi and Yves Saint Laurent.

Al Tayer also runs interior design operations under the Aati banner, as well as a distribution business for some of the world’s leading names in perfumes and cosmetics, including Emanuel Ungaro, Escada, Guerlain, Issey Miyake and Salvatore Ferragamo among others.



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