EGYPT: The first mall in Cairo opened in 1989 and some 27 others have followed, including CityStars, currently the largest in Egypt. Cairo has around 400,000 sq m of gross lettable area (GLA), which reflects massive under-supply relative to the market's potential and has spawned a major building programme.
Until the addition of new retail space, rents are expected to hold up as vacancies remain minimal. Filling the vacuum, hypermarkets have become major retail development drivers.
Under-supply of retail has prompted a spate of developments, notably Cairo Festival City being developed by Al-Futtaim, which is now under construction and on target to open in January 2012. It is modelled in part on Dubai Festival City complex, also by Al-Futtaim.
Leasing of the stores began in the late autumn and the 140,000 sq m, three-level shopping centre will host 250international and regional retail brands, as well as a hypermarket, a multiplex cinemas, and food and beverage outlets. IKEA, Marks & Spencer and Carrefour are secured as anchors.
Majid AlFuttaim Group is likely to invite bids for its 160,000 sq m Mall of Egypt project, one of the largest shopping centres in North Africa, in November. Plans include an indoor skiing facility by Ski Egypt similar to the one in Mall of the Emirates, plus 350stores, a 17-screen cinema complex and an outdoor plaza and dining.
CB Richard Ellis' How Global is the Business of Retail? report this year revealed that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia KSA was now attracting 43%of all international retail brands surveyed and had overtaken better known retail destinations like Hong Kong, Russia and Japan.
The retail market is characterised by a strong presence from major retailers including local players such as Al-Aziza Panda and Al Othaim; regional operators such as Al Bandar Trading and MH Alshaya; and international companies such as Carrefour, Géant, Debenhams and IKEA, which mainly operate through regional or local franchisees.
In 2009, Al-Azizia Panda strengthened its lead in this market, benefiting mainly from acquisitions made by the company during 2008/2009, which included the operations of Giant Stores and Géant. Carrefour continues to expand throughout the country. The retail scene is dominated by shopping centres, although IKEA is established as a 'big box' retailer in the KSA.
A lack of high quality retail space has deterred international brands from entering KSA, but the opening of several new, Dubai-style shopping malls, such as Jeddah's Mall of Arabia, should present more opportunities. UK retailer Alliance Boots opened there through MH Alshaya in March and retailers such as Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), Debenhams, Foot Locker, Mothercare, Starbucks and Topshop are all present in the market.
Retailers have undoubtedly been hit by last year's downturn but retail sales are improving. However, retailers continue to push landlords for concessions including long rent free periods, break clauses, help with fit-outs and turnover rents or low base and turnover rents. The prime malls can afford to be tougher in their negotiations and lease lengths have remained at three to five years.
Although Kuwait already had a number of shopping centers, the opening last year of two high profile projects, Tamdeen Shopping Centers' 360°Kuwait, anchored by Kuwait's first Geant hypermarket, and The Avenues Mall, enabled a number of international brands to enter the market for the first time.
Many of these have been brought by the largest mid-range fashion franchise operation in the region, MH Alshaya, which also happens to be based in Kuwait. American Eagle, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, Pinkberry and PF Changs have all opened stores in Kuwait this year at The Avenues Mall.
In 2011, UK fashion department store Harvey Nichols will open as anchor to the third and final phase of The Avenues Mall through a franchise deal with MH Alshaya.
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