Dubai has been ranked fourth among the top cities worldwide for retailing with other Gulf markets are also making their mark on the global shopping map, according to JLL’s Destination Retail report.
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, the report said.
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, JLL said.
It added that GCC 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. 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.” In a battle between historic, established markets versus modern newcomers, JLL said London stands at the fore front of international retailing while Asia Pacific outranked all regions with 18 cities making the cut driven by sheer market size.
The report said cities in the United States make up just over one-quarter (26.4 percent) of the top 50 cities, with only one city (New York) in the top 15. JLL’s report examined the presence of 240 international retail brands and 140 international cities, including the drivers of their growth, opportunity and barriers, and also ranked and assessed the vitality and attractiveness of cities.