UAE retail sector 'set for major growth'
Dubai, September 29, 2009
SouqExtra!, a pioneering lifestyle supercenter model, said the UAE retail sector would continue to grow big thanks to its expatriate population and country’s solid investment in the building of infrastructure.
Expressing strong confidence in the continuing growth of the country's retail sector, SouqExtra! managing director Saleh Abdullah Lootah, said, 'The UAE has enjoyed a vigorous investment drive by local and international companies based largely in Dubai and Abu Dhabi who have invested heavily in the development of large-scale tourism projects, industrial and logistic zones, and an advanced transport network.'
'All these factors have placed the UAE in a leading position to attract a qualified workforce, which has a positive knock-on effect on population growth and purchasing power,' he opined.
Lootah anticipates this population growth among nationals and expats to create a strong demand for basic commodities and services among residential communities, which will drive the rapid growth and transformation of the retail sector – a trend the UAE has already begun to witness.
“In recent years, the UAE has experienced a tremendous expansion of residential projects, and these resident populations have begun to seek high quality product and service offerings in close proximity to their homes,” Lootah explained.
Citing a report published by leading market research and information analysis company RNCOS in June this year, Lootah stated the recent global economic situation had not created a dent in the region’s retail evolution and growth, particularly in the UAE.
The RNCOS report has said that the regional retail industry was expected to grow at 14 per cent until 2013. The report further emphasized the UAE and Saudi Arabia’s continuing dominance in the region’s retail landscape based on the two countries’ large expatriate populations and heavy retail investment which will help maintain the growth momentum.
Lootah attested to the growing desire among residential communities not only for commodities and services, but for convenience-led retail options driven by a changing perception of residential communities not only as dwelling places but as complete lifestyle offerings.
The SouqExtra! concept which is embedded in local communities has therefore received a very encouraging market response, he added.
Lootah said there was a trend among consumers to reveal a distinct preference for community supercenters that represent the Modern Trade Sector (MTS) and provide easy and convenient access to products and services that meet their daily needs, over supermarkets within larger malls, which represent the Traditional Trade Sector (TTS). The MTS is expected to overtake the TTS in the coming few years, he added.
He pointed out that this encouraging trend has driven SouqExtra!’s continuing investment plans. “We recently announced the completion of our first outlet at Ewan Residences in Dubai Investment Park and SouqExtra! is continuing with investment plans for upcoming supercenters in different areas of Dubai, Fujairah and Ajman,” he added.-TradeArabia News Service