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Home to spectacular malls and unique commercial concepts, the UAE has seen a rapid increase in growth as far as the retail sector is concerned. The sector, fraught with apprehensions during the economic downturn, started to experience a positive transformation and currently ranks amongst the top five hot markets in the world.
There is a distinct shift from the energy sector with the vision for diversification in the national economy. In the year 2011, the country was already on the mend and witnessed the accelerated growth of the retail sector due to the inflow of tourism, changing demographics, and the rise in disposable income.
According to a report by Euromonitor: ''In 2013, retailing sales did not only benefit from domestic consumption but through tourism. This was reflected as tourism flows inbound grew by 9% in 2013, as economic instability and political unrest in other Middle Eastern countries and Europe encouraged more expatriates to visit the United Arab Emirates towards the end of the review period.''
Although experts lament the oversaturation of the retail industry, more malls are underway all across the UAE; with extensions to Dubai Mall, Dragon Mart, The Walk at JBR as well as mega developments in Mohammed Bin Rashid City, The Galleria and Deerfields Town Square in Abu Dhabi.
The Expo 2020 bid win, the country's massive appeal to international retail conglomerates as well as brands as a lucrative emerging market are key factors fueling the retail industry. The Euromonitor report further states that retailing will continue to benefit from the positive economic outlook during the forecast period.
Growth will be fueled by more foreign direct investment (FDI), investment in current and upcoming real estate projects, and further expansions in the commercial and retail segment.
• Retail industry boom result of UAE's aim of economic diversification
• Tourism and disposable income are boosting the retail sector
• Expo 2020 win and increase in FDI fueling retail sector growth
Source: Sabin Muzaffar, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer