Middle East Retail Market Moves Up, But London Dominates

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Middle East Retail Market Moves Up, But London Dominates

This article, put together by my colleague James Brown, talks about the growing importance of the Middle East retail market. The original can be found here.

London is the number one international retail destination but Middle East retail market is increasingly luring retailers, according to new numbers.

JLL’s Destination Retail report, which has mapped the presence of 240 retail brands across 140 cities, highlights the most attractive locations for retailers to set up shop.

It shows brands are expanding internationally in new ways as the combined effect of globalisation and adoption of technology forces them to explore new retail markets and different real estate models.

“Structural change is sweeping the retail market 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.”

The report shows that London tops the list as the number one international retail market with the highest presence of international retailers, even edging out Hong Kong in terms of international luxury brand presence. For many retailers, London is the entry point to Europe and recent entrants include J.Crew, Arc’teryx, Club Monaco, Kit and Ace, and John Varvatos.

Elsewhere in Europe, Paris is close behind in terms of international appeal, followed by Moscow, Milan, Madrid, Istanbul, Rome and Munich. But the report has also highlighted that one-third of the top 15 global retail cities are now located in the Middle East.

Middle East Retail Market Trends

Dubai, Kuwait City, Abu Dhabi, Jeddah and Riyadh are emerging as business and travel hubs, and this means they’re increasingly catching the eye of global retail brands.

With the domestic Middle East retail market less mature than other regions, international brands can enter without too much competition from local brands.

Andrew Williamson, head of retail, JLL MENA, explains: “Middle East consumers are sophisticated shoppers who are demanding an international style experience that replicates what they’ve seen abroad.

“The short term outlook is cautious. However the mid to long term is very positive for the region. The considerable young demographics, an appetite for a modern retail experience throughout the region and the continued growth in tourism bode well for the future.”

JLL’s report found that international brands prefer to enter the region through franchise models because many countries require businesses to have a local GCC partner. Williamson added: “Many brands prefer to work with a local partner to assist in understanding the cultures, local business practices and logistics.”

To explore how international retailers are expanding globally in more detail you can request to download the full report.

Find out what impact Ramadan has on the MENA Retail Market and get our toolkit for effective Retail Marketing.

This post is also available in: Arabic

Andrew Williamson

Author: Andrew Williamson

Andrew is Head of the Retail division at JLL in MENA and has been involved in numerous retail development advisory and leasing assignments for major retail environments in the UAE, KSA, Qatar, Egypt and Oman totalling in excess of USD $2.5 billion. For the past 10 years that Andrew has been in the Gulf region he has advised on mall design, leasing, creation and implementation of merchandising mixes and has analysed project viability. Having also spent 2.5 years in Tenant Coordination, he understands the technical requirements of a retail environment and what it takes to successfully deliver a project to the market.

Andrew holds a Bachelor of Economics degree from the University of Western Ontario, completed the British Columbia Real Estate Licensing Course, held the Certified Financial Planners designation, is a registered member of RERA in Dubai and a member of the Middle East Council of Shopping Centres.(MECSC)

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