DUBAI / WAM
Wholesale and retail trade in the UAE is an important sector, constituting more than 11 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country and nearly 30 percent of the GDP of the Emirate of Dubai.
Hamad Buamim, President and CEO, Dubai Chamber, in a statement to Emirates News Agency (WAM) announced that Dubai will host the 10th edition of the World Retail Congress, WRC, this year and the world’s most exclusive retail event for senior executives will be held for the first time outside Europe.
Retail remains a key pillar of Dubai Emirate’s economy, with sales expected to reach AED160 billion this year, and 400,000 square metres of additional retail space expected to be completed by the end of the year across Dubai, according to real estate consultancy, JLL.
In partnership with Majid Al Futtaim and the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, WRC 2016 will be held from April 12-14 under the theme, “Attracting and Engaging the Modern Customer”. It will bring together over 1,000 leading retailers and industry experts to showcase the region’s potential in the sector and discuss topics such as disruption and innovation within retail, how to effectively engage with customers, and what’s next for the sector, both within the region and globally.
Alain Bejjani, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Holding, said, “It’s a great honour for Majid Al Futtaim to partner with the World Retail Congress and Dubai Chamber of Commerce on this year’s event. By working together, we believe we can make the World Retail Congress 2016 the most engaging, inspiring and thought provoking to-date.
“This year’s programme and inspirational speakers will cover some of the most important topics and trends affecting the retail industry, and I am confident that the congress will provide an excellent platform for local, regional and international retailers to shine the spotlight on innovation across this dynamic sector. The congress also provides an opportunity for the industry to work together to discuss ways to pioneer retail development both within the Middle East and around the world.”
Hamad Buamim said, “We believe that these events are an opportunity for businesses organisations from around the world to know what Dubai has to offer – its strategic location, access to 2 billion consumers in the region and a stable and safe economy.”
The President and CEO of Dubai Chamber added, “It is a privilege for Dubai to host the World Retail Congress for the first time in the region. Winning this bid from the World Retail Congress is the fruit of the chamber’s efforts to consolidate Dubai’s profile globally as a renowned global retail destination and provide a substantial boost for the MICE industry across the Middle East region as a whole.
“We are confident Dubai will add value to the congress as this landmark event is the biggest convention of the retail industry’s leading professionals and will help enhance the competitiveness and potential of Dubai retailers,” he said.
He said that the retail sector is a key pillar of Dubai’s economy, contributing about 29% to the emirate’s GDP as the expected volume of retail trade was around AED 86 billion in 2014, with an expected growth rise of 5.9% during the current year, while expecting to maintain the same growth rate for the sector at compound annual growth rate of 6.1% until 2019, indicating a positive outlook for the sector’s growth in the medium to long term.
The President and CEO of Dubai Chamber said that there are many factors that help the growth of the retail sector in Dubai, including growing economic prosperity, steady population growth, rising salaries leading to high consumer spending, cultural diversity, tourism growth, continuation of infrastructure development projects, and the establishment of more commercial centres which are supporting retail sector development.
According to a recent Dubai Chamber report, apparel and footwear retail outlets are expected to lead the growth in the retail sector in the medium run and will achieve compound annual growth rate of 6.8% until 2019, while the expectations for the electronics and appliance, health and beauty, home and garden products expect a compound annual growth rate of 3-6% during the same period.
Highlighting internet retailing as a leading non-store retail channel in terms of growth, the reports says that this makes up less than 2% of total retail sales value, a relatively low figure compared to other global markets.
Since its inception in 2007, the World Retail Congress has taken place in major European cities including Barcelona, Berlin, London, Paris and Rome. It is attended by thousands of senior retail leaders and industry experts from a large number of countries, including the UAE.