Dubai / Emirates Business
Dubai has been ranked among the top cities worldwide for retailing according to JLL’s Destination Retail report, which shows how 50 major global cities have risen to the top of the list for mainstream, premium and luxury retailers’ expansions.
While the list is dominated by cities in Asia Pacific, those in the Middle East are coming on strong, propelled by an ever-increasing array of international retailers. One-third of the top 15 global retail cities are located in the Middle East, with Dubai placed fourth, Kuwait City finishing within the top 10 at nine, Abu Dhabi at 11 and Jeddah and Riyadh tied for 12.
Dubai’s history of ‘shopping tourism’, which has included hosting the world-renowned Dubai Shopping Festival for over two decades, has seen the emirate become a hub for major retail brands. It also has one of the highest levels of retail floor space per capita globally.
Andrew Williamson – Head of Retail, MENA for JLL, said: “Retail will continue to be a key pillar of the Dubai economy, and this report shows its strategy of attracting leading international retailers is working.”
“As Dubai looks to welcome 20 million visitors by 2020, retail will play a crucial role in drawing in visitors from all over the globe. The city has an impressive history which is unmatched in the region when it comes to retail. And its position globally can only be enhanced given the high quality retail space on offer to the world’s best-known and most loved brands.”
“Structural change is sweeping the retail industry as technology and e-commerce platforms become more sophisticated; however, demand for the right physical space, in the right location, is stronger than ever,” said James Brown, Director of Global Retail Research for JLL. “Borders are becoming less of an issue for retailers pursuing opportunities overseas and we’re seeing the global retail landscape shifting fast to accommodate the change.”
JLL’s report examines the presence of 240 international retail brands and 140 international cities, including the drivers of their growth, opportunity and barriers, and also ranks and assesses the vitality and attractiveness of cities.
London has the highest presence of international retailers compared to its global peers, and edges out Hong Kong in terms of international luxury brand presence. London continues to be a magnet for new brands thanks to its unique blend of market size, maturity and high degree of transparency.
The Middle East’s top cities, including Dubai, Kuwait City, Abu Dhabi, Jeddah and Riyadh are emerging as business and travel hubs, and are increasingly catching the eye of global retail brands. The cities’ strong in-place tourism plays an important role in increasing the flow of foreign money, a key driver for retail spend. The markets each have large quantities of affordable retail space, supported by franchise structures, which present viable options for international retailers and reduce their operational risk at entry. Additionally, the domestic retail market in the Middle East is not as mature as other regions, allowing international brands to enter without too much competition from domestic brands. JLL’s report found that pent up shopping demand across the region has spurred some of the highest sales volumes for retailers.
Asia Pacific Lures Retailers with Sheer Size
Asia Pacific’s leading cities’ sheer market size, in terms of population and economic might, is one of the most compelling drivers for retailers’ expansion into the region. Many Asian markets benefit from a burgeoning middle class and growing levels of affluence, which are attractive in particular to a wide-range of retailers. The cities also benefit from large amounts of new, fit-for-purpose modern retail space. Hong Kong remains Asia’s leading shopping destination, with top brands from luxury to fast fashion competing for prime locations.
USA Stars, Stripes and Strong Sales
While the Americas region only captures one-quarter of the top 50 cities for attractiveness, 15 out of the 16 cities identified are located in one country, the United States. The Land of Opportunity has more retail space than any other country with 12.8 billion square feet, and presents retailers with several options for entry, either in malls, shopping centers, power centers or general retail space.