Page 1



Burning Issues

Faced by Retail in the Middle East

Retail & Enterprise The ´XX´Factor

Women in Retail

Five infuential women in the retail sector share their views EVENTS







David Macadam


Veena Desa


Juri Daendler


Mariz Matocdo


A Motivate Connect Publication Media 1 Tower, Dubai Media City PO Box 2331, Dubai, UAE T: +971 4 4273000 F: +971 4 42802261 Chris Capstick PUBLISHER





Middle East Council of Shopping Centres 803, BurJuman Business Tower PO Box 43972, Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 3597909 Fax: +971 4 3558818

Entrepreneurship and Retail: The ‘XX’ Factor



Women in Retail

Inter-Firm collaborations and Innovations


Burning Issues in Retail: Middle East


What’s Happening in Oman?


RECon MENA 2014 Highlights


Milestones for the Driven Shopping Centre Professional

6 12



Ingrid Valles


Sunil Kumar


John Marsland ART DIRECTOR


30 32 retail people | 3

WELCOME Welcome to the second edition of Retail People Magazine


ur team has assembled a remarkable content for our members this quarter. Feedback from our successful first edition has guided us to source greater depth of content and creating more meaningful and thoughtful articles. Women in Retail is our feature article and showcases the impressive talent of a cross section of our female members from the UAE, Jordan, Oman and Iran. Our members have come forward to support this publication. Members want to volunteer to write articles on subjects which are their specialty. Still other members want to see us provide content which provides greater exposure to their current challenges in the industry. We welcome all this feedback and support and we see the Retail People Magazine as a tool for bringing together people, educating them and showcasing the great things happening in our industry. With readership in 45 counties, we are creating a voice in the Middle East and

North Africa region, which has long been a wish of the ICSC. We are filling this need gladly in the MENA region as a true member benefit. We truly appreciate the support of our members and advertisers who contribute to the financial success of the Retail People Magazine.

Thank you and enjoy this issue of the Retail People Magazine.



Burning Issues

Faced by Retail in the Middle East

Retail & Enterprise The ´XX´Factor

David Macadam CEO MECSC

Shane Eldstrom, CRX, CSM, CLS, CDP COO, Al Farwaniya Property Developments LLC

Women in Retail

5 infuential women in the retail sector share their views EVENTS







MECSC Board President

Thank you to MECSC Board Chairman Majid Al Ghurair, President, BurJuman Centre and the following Board Members for their tremendous support, advice, and contribution: Salma Shasha’a, Leasing & Marketing Manager, The Abdali Boulevard Company PSC (VP) *On the Cover* Shakeel Hussain, GM Business Development, Landmark Group (Treasurer) Mohammed Iqbal Alawi, CEO, Red Sea Markets Co. Simon Wilcock, CEO, Arabian Centres Real Estate Co. Marwan Eskandarani, Group Retail Property Director, Kamal Osman Jamjoom Group LLC Khalid Moh’d Aldhubaie, CLO, Arabian Centres Real Estate Co. Dalia Finj, Director Leasing and Business Development, Majid Al Futtaim Leisure & Entertainment LLC retail people | 5

Retail Insight

Women in Retail Retail People Magazine Talks to 5 infuential women in the retail sector today Fortunately for the growing number of women making their foray in the retail world, some pioneers have demonstrated how women thrive as executive decision-makers. While there are more women worthy of recognition than can be included in one feature, Retail People have highlighted five extraordinary women in the MENA retail industry who have truly demonstrated leadership, passion and innovation in their field. We take a closer look to learn what keeps them excited about the business, how they find the right work-life balance and the best advice they have ever received about business, leadership and life.

6 | retail people

Retail Insight


WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO VENTURE INTO RETAIL? I have started my career in retail , so owning my retail business did not feel like I was venturing into something new Well…. at least that’s what I thought! Owning your own business is a whole other world than if you are working for someone


“Measure twice cut once”, please do your homework before jumping into this costly venture

I believe we do bring a different style to the home décor retails market of the region We felt confident enough to go into retail business as there were big gaps in what was being offered, and still to this day there is a need in the market for a different product offering, along with our service which customizes the items to the needs of the customer. Next steps for Cottage Chic is to open more locations in the UAE as well as franchise our store world wide

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ARE THE REAL BENEFITS OF A RETAIL CAREER? Because we are a home grown boutique offering over 300 international brands under one roof versus a franchise, I would say freedom of creativity Berna Ramey, Managing Partner Avenue General Trading LLC “Cottage Chic”

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU SHARE WITH SOMEONE INTERESTED TO START THEIR OWN RETAIL BUSINESS? “Measure twice cut once”, please do your homework before jumping into this costly venture by knowing your market, understanding your target audience and having the required patience retail people | 7

Retail Insight


HOW DID YOU START IN THE RETAIL WORLD? Throughout my career in real estate development, I’ve worked on a number of Mixed Use Projects and always found the Retail component the soul of the project. This got me very interested in Retail, being the key element of a project implies how important it is to the success of the project. During the feasibility and development phase of our projects, I was lucky enough to work with retail consultants who have shared their retail knowledge and wisdom with me. In 2011, I attended RECon in Dubai and was amazed on how dynamic the Retail world really is.


Maimunah Shebani, Strategy and Planning Manager, Real Estate & Hospitality Division, The Zubair Corporation 8 | retail people

Oman’s Retail Industry is characterised by a strong consumer demand, robust economic growth and distinct demographic factors. Oman’s population is very young with 64% of the population under the age of 29 years. The implications of such a young population can be seen in the shortage and need for quality retail and entertainment centers. The strength of Oman’s market in terms of Retail is that it is still a nascent market so developers need to think about lifestyle issues and translate these into retail projects that promote quality of life. The consumer is more sophisticated now and retail is no longer about just building space and buying products from that space. Consumer spending is on the rise, which in itself presents opportunity. The retail environment in Oman is defined

generally by extremes, at one end the sophisticated high-end fashion centers contrasted by the small local retailers. There is an acute need for other types of quality retail with entertainment centers leading the way.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU SHARE WITH SOMEONE INTERESTED TO BECOME A RETAIL PROFESSIONAL? Know your field and become familiar with the key players in the market and region. I found that Retail is all about relationships you

Retail Insight

Know your field and become familiar with the key players in the market and region. I found that Retail is all about relationships you build.

build. They pave the way for success. Additionally, networking opportunities and retail conferences in the region help you build relationships, meet the right people, share knowledge and learn from the industry. The MECSC has been very instrumental in helping retail professionals connect. They not only provide knowledge but are a platform to do business.


It has completely flipped my life up-side down; the first month was the most challenging as priorities changed to adapt to the new member of the family but as everyone says, motherhood is very fulfilling and rewarding. Nevertheless, now that I am back to work, balancing responsibility with job and family is no easy task. It’s a juggling act that requires lots of planning and time management. As a working woman, I tend to set high expectations of myself as a mother as I love my career but love my family too. retail people | 9

Retail Insight

Iran is considered today as one of the most attractive places for investment in the Middle East region.

W Mahya Bayat, International Relationship Manager, Maad Retail Study Centre 10 | retail people

WHAT INTERESTS YOU ABOUT THE RETAIL INDUSTRY? Given the rich history of retail in Iran, today the most exciting trend underway is a transition from traditional to organised retailing. The retail industry has been subject to fast growth over the last three years and I am interested in being a small part of this rapid change. Retailers are expanding their traditional small shops into organised chains and investing in the infrastructure that supports omni-channel retailing. Internet has become very important in setting the standards for the new retail trends e.g. Manteau and Islamic dresses, and social networking websites have largely increased the design and brand consciousness of Iranians.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR GREATEST PROFESSIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENT TO DATE? As a postgraduate of entrepreneurship, my area of interest has been social and inter-firm networks. Having this background, I started my collaboration with MRSC to organise the first international retail conference in Iran four years ago when the modern retail concept was quite new. Today after more than 10 conferences, retailers are becoming more aware of the global trends. Iran is considered today as one of the most attractive places for investment in the Middle East region. As international brands demand to enter into Iran, it’s important to keep the image and core of the brand true, yet understand the behavior of the

Retail Insight

customers. My career has involved helping the interested international brands to take the right strategies for entrance as well as expansion in the market.

WHAT RETAIL OPPORTUNITIES DO YOU FORESEE IN IRAN? The population of 80 million, a recent change in customers’ behavior, the huge number of shopping centers under construction (300), high consumer demand and the opportunity for international brands to expand, could lead to a dramatic change in the retail market in Iran.

Today, if we consider women as the main customers for retail, researches on their nuances and cultural differences could be very critical for the new brands. Recently a study shared by the Iran Strategic Research Center showed that a majority of university students are female with the growth rate of 25%. This increased number of educated women offers better brand awareness and more modern behavior among this group.


For me, retailing is an amazing place to build my career. Three aims I look for in my career to become one of leaders in the industry within the next three years include: networking with global actors, learning the international standards and practicing them in a localised way. Accordingly, my personal objective is to create and test new ideas in the challenging and always changing environment. In fact, learning from global past and present trends and knowing the local market, I would like to contribute, as much as I can, to the future retail revolution in Iran. retail people | 11

Retail Insight

What makes Urban Edge unique is that we care, we are committed and we are all professional. Leith Hoffensetz, Director, Urban Edge Real Estate Company 12 | retail people

Retail Insight

WHY DID YOU SELECT RETAIL LAW AS PART OF YOUR PRACTISE? Retail therapy is a natural thing for most women and I am one of the mainstream. As a young woman growing up in Australia, I was heavily influenced by fashion and brands and contributed to the Australian retailing economy. When I entered law school, it was refreshing to learn about a topic that related to everyday life. What I like about retail law is that it is always changing. Shoppers’ habits and demands are always changing – therefore the law must also change to accommodate the needs of the public. In was most fortunate to be an in-house legal counsel for one of Australia’s largest retailers prior to coming to the UAE and also obtained valuable experience about the different models of retailing, eg franchising, licensing, etc

YOU HAVE RECENTLY LAUNCHED URBAN EDGE. CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT WHAT MAKES THIS OFFERING DIFFERENT? Urban Edge is about culminating years of knowledge and experience in every facet of the real estate industry, such as, development, retailing, hospitality, commercial, residential, facilities management, property management, jointly owned property and asset management. Its aim is

to manage, promote and oversee the seamless transition between all phases of a real estate development, eg from development phase to handover phase to operations phase, while at the same time maintaining integrated knowledge, efficiencies and harmonious communities. What makes Urban Edge unique is that we care, we are committed and we are all professional. Urban Edge has partnerships and affiliations with a number of the most qualified and professional companies from each field within the real estate industry. The internal management and systems for ensuing quality control and supervision of service providers is what provides developers and owners with a sense of trust and relief. It lets them relax and focus on other aspects of their business.

WHAT OR WHO HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST INFLUENCE IN BUSINESS AND WHY? Gerry Harvey, the Chairman of Harvey Norman Holdings Limited in Australia, would have to be one of the most influential people in my career. As a lawyer, we are usually trained to be “black and white” in our thinking. Gerry was very much an entrepreneur, having turned billionaire from a vacuum cleaner salesman. He taught me that business is about people, about understanding

what they need and most importantly – it’s about taking calculated risks. Another influential business person, especially within the Middle East, has been Mohammed Yahya who is the Director of Commercial and Strategic Planning at Wasl. Mohammed has taught me notwithstanding the legal ways of approaching matters, there is always a moral and ethical approach to business and which, if you follow, will lead to a better outcome. This manner of thinking has significantly changed te way I see life and approach business.

WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE RECEIVED IN BUSINESS THAT YOU WISH TO PASS ONTO OUR READERS? Gerry Harvey’s main mantra was always, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. His intent being always – “don’t waste money”. Having said this, Gerry was always the most ardent supporter if you took him a new idea. “If you have a good idea – make it happen”. And if he gave you the green light, you could turn anything into an opportunity. The most important advice I can pass on to readers is to always maintain a balance between business and personal life. At the end of the day, I try and balance all this advice and to maintain my own personal integrity in all my business dealings. retail people | 13

Retail Insight


Salma Shasha’a, Leasing and Marketing Manager, Abdali Boulevard Company PSC 14 | retail people

Growing up in a family with a business in retail, mainly supplying the hotel industry, I found glamour and allure in the rich textures and colorful designs of products. Now that I have been part of the retail industry for five years, I have acquired a whole new level of appreciation for this sector. Retail is an industry that allows you to select your passion and pursue it down an exciting career path, filled with endless opportunities for professional development and career advancement. It has made me understand the connection between those who make the products, and those who use them; I now know the amount of effort and thought it takes to create the perfect product before it even seems necessary. Being part of this process is primarily the reason why I enjoy my career in retail. I learn something new every day, and despite all the challenges, the sense of satisfaction and

reward I get, makes the journey worthwhile.

CONGRATULATIONS, YOU WERE RECENTLY ELECTED AS VP FOR THE MECSC BOARD. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU? Being the first female Vice President of the MECSC Board since its establishment 20 years ago, fills me with a magnificent sense of pride. I am humbled to have been chosen to fulfill such a post, which comes with its own set of responsibilities and expectations. I however, did not get where I am today by taking the easy route, and I look forward to undertaking the new challenges this role will bring in my stride. In my new capacity, I will be able to shed light on the retail sector in Jordan, my home country, and represent it on a regional level, as well as acquire insights from the retail industry in the region and apply it here in Jordan. I hope more women get to experience the same

sense of accomplishment I am currently experiencing, and I encourage them to dare to pursue their dreams, because everything is possible with just the right blend of determination and hard work.

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR THE RETAIL LANDSCAPE IN JORDAN? Jordan enjoys a free-market economy and political stability in comparison to its neighboring countries, and as a result, it has become a preferred destination for various industries. The retail industry in Jordan is an ever-growing one, witnessing an increasing demand for international brands that go in line with the preferences of its young population. The country is home to a hugely diverse selection of retail destinations. To satisfy the increasing demand of the retail industry in Jordan, a ‘new downtown’ project in the heart of the capital is currently underway. This mixeduse development is a first of its

Retail Insight

kind in Amman, adding a spark of a contemporary lifestyle to the country and to its tourism offerings; introducing what is more than 2.8 million square feet of retail space in its first phase, along with 5 star hotels, commercial spaces and residential units in one prestigious address.


positions in the world’s largest corporations successfully. As Art Williams once said “I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.”

In my new capacity, I will be able to shed light on the retail sector in Jordan, my home country, and represent it on a regional level

Salma, with colleagues from Abdali Boulevard Company PSC

I have learnt so much from the retail industry, both on a personal and professional level; it has significantly expanded my business knowledge and has enabled me to forge many new connections. Adaptability, persistence and determination are key features necessary for anyone wishing to embark on a career in retail; considering that this industry is a highly competitive and an everchanging one, throwing many challenges on its practitioners. I encourage more women to join the retail field as they have a natural flare for patience and perseverance, and have proven over the years to have fulfilled senior retail people | 15


Burning issues in Retail: Middle East BY PRAKASH MENON


ou may be too ashamed to admit, but don’t be, retailers everywhere are suffering from the same things world over. It’s just that no one dares to say it out loud because it’s all very elementary.

Prakash Menon (PK) Executive Director Thought Leaders Middle East

16 | retail people

Sweeping it under the rug isn’t going to do anyone any good either. Lets face it, retailers in the middle east are hiding behind rapid growth, shopping fiestas and a population that shop for fun. Sooner or later though, process failures

or a new competitor (which ever comes first) will force you to look at what you’re doing wrong, or if you’re not doing anything wrong, you will soon have to do the right things, more often, more consistently and better than before. So what are some of those burning issues that most retailers in the Middle East are facing today?

1. LACK OF MERCHANDISE PLANNING Buying decisions that rely on previous buying behaviours and gut decision alone are fraught with problems. It’s like buying your five year old son a

new pair of shoes based on his last years shoe size. Without feedback from sales, buying decisions can easily create situations where stock is either severely understocked, or highly overstocked. Further, if the decision time is long, the extremes of under- or over-stocking can be much greater, making course-correction decisions even more difficult and causing detrimental problems in the stock pipeline. The solution has two parts; first, we must integrate the sales results with the buying strategy to make the buying decisions. Secondly, the time between decisions must be shortened, so


that when incorrect buying decisions are made, their effects are reversible.

2. CENTRALISE OR DECENTRALISE Although some level of buying autonomy is necessary, as each buyer understands the needs of their customers, such practises avoid capitalising on the company- level buying power when larger purchases are made at once, as in the case of commodity SKUs. Significant savings through increased buying power could be made if the buying of commodity SKUs was centralised, Buying of specialty SKUs can be decentralised to the buyers as they can best relate to their customers. With sales feedback from each store being processed centrally, stock levels can also be managed at

the company-level, making global forecasting possible. Buying may be just one aspect of it though. Many retail giants with multiple brands and businesses work in silos. Instead of utilizing the same supply chain, warehousing and support functions, each invest in their own thus duplicating functions. Interbrand competition can be healthy, but only if you seek to learn from one another.

3. MISSING FORECASTS Sales forecasts determine the resources that are allocated to the stores, including staff, inventory, transport and allocation time. If the sales forecasts are not rigorously planned, it is possible that holding a ‘sale’ event

can be detrimental to the business. The extra wages need to be paid, as well as unsold stock clogging the pipeline. Time forecasts are equally important. Forecasts are paramount in the decision-making processes of the company in the longer term, as shorter-term forecasts directly impact longer-term strategies that extend well into the future. A retailer may have a state-of-theart ERP system, but if this system is not being fed the correct data, then it will simply not give the correct results. Smart systems are only as smart as the data they are being fed. The systems must be made to work for you, otherwise they useless, or worse, misleading. retail people | 17



Burning Issues

Faced by Retail in the Middle East

Retail & Enterprise The ´XX´Factor

Women in Retail

5 infuential women in the retail sector share their views EVENTS







Are you a Shopping Centre looking to lease space? Are you a Retailer interested to enter the market or expand your operations? Are you a provider looking to market a product or your services?


The Heritage of


Katharine Pender Head of Property Management


leopatra – the prestigious and influential woman originating from and ruling Egypt as the last active pharaoh seems an appropriate female icon to mention in an edition focusing on women. TriGranit Management headquartered in Budapest has been building relationships and business opportunities intensively in the Middle Eastern region, culminating in Q4 2014 in an investment into a JV to undertake the leasing mandate for the stunningly designed “wave in the desert” Cleopatra Mall, situated in 6TH October City, Cairo as well as the establishment of its Middle East office in Dubai. Although facts may have been somewhat distorted through time, Cleopatra, the Last Queen of Egypt, has now become synonymous with prestige, beauty and power. All these traits to which many woman throughout the World still aspire, and which shopping centres and fashion brands need to exude in order to attract loyal visitors and frequently returning shoppers. Aspirational and luxury brands are those which are most desired in the Middle Eastern markets today and which tend to originate from the established “fashion icon” countries of Mainland Europe. Such labels need to balance their luxury and elitist brand values with the attractive demand and mass ability to afford such products and accessories by many of the middle eastern oil rich country’s residents and visitors today, as opposed to the smaller market of Egyptian pharaohs

of bygone dynasties. Cleopatra displayed the same interest and associations when she sought help and advice and social attention from her Roman counterparts of Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony. So the connection goes back a long way in demand and desire from Egypt and supply from Italy…. With extreme climates in many countries, shopping malls are not just a place to shop for luxurious style, but a social hub for meeting, entertainment and dining–all activities which can be associated with Cleopatra and the style of life we associated with her.

Cleopatra Mall will deliver against this background and iconology that has sustained through history by delivering luxury retailing as well as luxurious customer experience through the ambiance of the Mall itself as well as the dining and entertainment offer. TriGranit Management now has a firm base from which to operate in the Region and develop more business, share expertise and knowhow from its prestigious and respected business, management and leasing mandates in Central Europe and is excited at the opportunity which this move to the Middle Eastern markets ignites. retail people | 19


Our Sponsors and Partners: Platinum Sponsors: Hamat Property Co. Arabian Centres Annual Sponsors: The Pearl Qatar. Kinan Gold Sponsors: Red Sea Mall Aswaq Management and Services Intimaa Al Othaim Mall. Sharjah Investment & Development Authority (Shurooq) Bronze Sponsors: Yardi Muscat Grand Mall. Amer Malls Conference Break and Lunch Sponsor: Doha Festival City Gala and Delegate Gift Sponsors: Alokozay Apparel Group Bath and Body Works Dhamani. Patchi Support Partners: AZDEF Group V Flower Boutique Strategic Partner: Right Selection Group Media Partners: International New York Times SCT Magazine. RLI Official Airline Partner: Emirates Airline





he 20th Anniversary RECon Conference, Workshops and Awards Gala was held from October 12-14th, 2014 at the RitzCarlton DIFC, Dubai. This year’s RECon was the highest ever attended in the history of the Council, with over 600 attendees for the Conference, 500+ attendees and 52 competition entries for the ICSC Awards Gala, and the Exhibition space sold out weeks in advance of the event! We were privileged to have a number of distinguished guests recognized for their contribution to the MECSC and the UAE. His Excellency Mr. Mohammed Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs for the UAE join our Awards Dinner on the evening of Monday October 13th. He accepted the Distinguished Service Award and recognition as the Founding Father of the MECSC 20 years ago. These awards were delivered from our Chairman Mr. Majid Al Ghurair. HE. Mr. Al Gergawi delivered a wonderful acceptance speech ‘off the cuff’ which was very well received and was delivered from the heart. He was very pleased with the growth and success of the MECSC. During the evening, the Lifetime

Achievement acknowledgement was awarded to Mr. Majid Al Futtaim. The award was received by Mr. Fuad Sharaf, Senior Director, Property Management – Shopping Malls for Majid Al Futtaim Properties. The MECSC also recognized His Excellency Mr. Nasser Hussain Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality for his contribution to the success of Dubai. The legacy of the Dubai Municipality team with many Technology Platform initiatives and the clear vision to provide the infrastructure and building approvals over the years was recognized. The award was received by His Excellency Mr. Abdulla Al Rafia, the Assistant Director General of the Dubai Municipality and Mr. Mohamed Al Noori – Director of Corporate Marketing & Relations for the Dubai Municipality. For his long standing support of the MECSC, our Chairman Mr. Majid Saif Al Ghurair was given two awards for his Distinguished Service for the past 20 years of supporting the MECSC and the Key to Dubai representing the Key to Success for our organization. These Awards were delivered by the ICSC President and CEO, Mr. Michael Kercheval from New York. retail people | 21


LEFT: MECSC Founding Members (from left to right) Eisa Adam Ibrahim Shavak Srivastava Ali Hasan Alkabeer Ishwar Chugani Walter Kleinschmit OPPOSITE: MECSC Executives CEO David Macadam and VP Veena Desa-Rego BELOW: Hanine El Alam, Lovely entertainment for the evening

22 | retail people


ABOVE: ICSC MENA Award Winners LEFT: H.E. Mr. Mohammed Al Gergawi Minister of Cabinet Affairs for the UAE and MECSC Chairman, Mr. Majid Saif Al Ghurair Cutting the 20th Anniversary Celebration Cake BELOW: H.E. Abdulla Al Rafia, the Assistant Director General of the Dubai Municipality

retail people | 23


BELOW: Richard Dean, our dapper MC for RECon RIGHT: ICSC President and CEO, Mr. Michael Kercheval and MECSC Chairman, Mr. Majid Saif Al Ghurair BELOW-RIGHT: ICSC Foundation Executive Director Valerie Cammiso and Ziad Moghrabiah, Arabian Centres, Mall of Arabia, Cairo

24 | retail people

Retail Insight

Entrepreneurship and Retail: The ‘XX’ Factor BY VISHAL PANDEY

n a panel organized in Dubai in 2014 in the recent TechForum event, by Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority in partnership with Etisalat titled ‘How to be a successful woman entrepreneur’ was a highlight of the seminar. Many speakers agreed that the UAE is one of the best places in the region for women to launch their startups. Factors that clearly came outlined as the keys to success were: • Passion. You must be passionate about the idea and think about it all the time.

Vishal Pandey,

• Experiencing corporate life. While some people do start immediately as they graduate, corporate experience was believed to hone anybody’s skills and ease the path of entrepreneurship.

MSc Director and Board Member Glasgow Consulting Group

26 | retail people

• Research. One must undertake a lot of research before jumping ship of own business to understand all the

intricacies of your chosen industry. • Mental and financial readiness. ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’ There has been a surge in women entrepreneurs in the Middle East. Regionally, 30% of the tech entrepreneurs are women, beating the international average of 10%. In the UAE the main sector in which Emirati women operates their businesses is the retail (43%) and service sectors (56%). Women Emirati entrepreneurs in UAE operate in fields such as trade, industry finance, real estate, tourism, fairs and exhibitions, construction and services. Emirati women are self-motivated to succeed, a study at the Abu Dhabi University (ADU), in collaboration with Qatar University concluded. The study of 224 Emirati women entrepreneurs was carried out to understand the characteristics and determining factors behind their motivation to excel. Women work, whether for their own businesses or in the

public or private sectors, for two main reasons: They either have to work, or they want to work. The study showed that the desire for higher income is not a key motivating factor for female Emiratis aspiring to become entrepreneurs. The standard of living in the UAE significantly reduces the economic reasons for women to seek employment, leaving one main reason for them to go to work: because they want to. Research suggests that education is a key contributing factor to the success of entrepreneurs. This stands UAE women in good stead, as statistics reveal that 77% of UAE females continue on to higher education, which is actually 24% more than the proportion of UAE national men enrolled in higher education institutions.

Retail Insight

and Women’s Angel Investment Network, which offers mentorship and angel investment to women entrepreneurs. As per PwC’s survey titled ‘Family businesses at the forefront of Middle East’s growth’ over the last two decades, the role of women in family firms has undergone a paradigm shift. Raised standards of education coupled with improved economic conditions and financial opportunities have resulted in women contributing significantly towards the growth and success of family businesses.


Higher education, the research suggests, is associated with greater business success. About 57% of women entrepreneurs have degrees or have completed postgraduate education, and only 3% have succeeded in business without a college education. Being a woman entrepreneur in the Middle East is still tough. Starting a new business demands a large amount of time and attention. As women have maintained the traditional role of caring for their own children, the support of family members (sisters, mother, etc.) remains an essential support element for an entrepreneur to meet the demands of both job and children. Women entrepreneurs in the

UAE need guidance to further develop their businesses, according to Muna Al Gurg, director of retail at the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group. “One of the most crucial things that female entrepreneurs need to do is find a mentor — that really helps a lot,” Muna said. “I think they reach a point where they don’t know how to grow and be high impact. By high impact, I mean you take your business to another level, so your revenue is much higher. “Start-up and entrepreneurial ideas are growing in this region. There are a lot of platforms that entrepreneurs can go to, I think they just need to explore these platforms,” she said. Mentors: some of these include Impact Hub Dubai

With the surge in opportunities offered by the retail sector will drive more Middle East women to explore opportunities. Women entrepreneurship is an important source of rapid economic growth today. Women entrepreneurs are not only starting business ventures but also creating new jobs for others, providing society with employment and growth opportunities. At an entrepreneurial program launched in collaboration with Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC) and MasterCard, Micheal Miebach, President of MasterCard Middle East and Africa region says, “Women in UAE are playing an increasingly important role in driving the economy, and we remain committed to helping them realize their business vision.” Thus, explaining the importance of entrepreneurial ventures for women in Gulf region. Women are the key to a prosperous future, as they account for a major proportion of Gulf’s population. retail people | 27


Inter-Firm Collaborations and Innovation: Evidence from the Retail Industry WHY INNOVATION?

Mahya Bayat International Relationship Manager Maad Retail Study Center

28 | retail people

Today, the retail industry is subject to rapid change and fierce competition with the advancement of technology such as internet and mobile phones. In such environment, retailers should maintain or gain loyal customers in order to survive and grow. However, since consumers are more knowledgeable and different than those of the past, it has become more complicated to gain their satisfaction. For example, they are usually connected to the internet which enables them to have online access to detailed product information, price comparisons, user reviews, and the recommendations of friends on social media sites. Moreover, customers are constantly looking for innovation in products and services; even under the form of small changes in advertising and sales promotion, in-store merchandising, store operations, customer service, product mix, and so on. Therefore, retailers must embrace radical as well as incremental innovation to satisfy their needs as the key to success. The industry leaders also need to focus on developing new strategies to position themselves effectively in the

new global marketplace.

WHY COLLABORATION? Given the importance of innovation in the retail industry, some retailers are innovating in isolation and some collaborating with others to pursue innovation. Today, competitive advantage belongs to those businesses which select the second option and are able to manage a network of collaborative relations with other enterprises. As a result, entrepreneurial work is no more confined within the walls of the individual firms, and lack of cooperation in networks leads to a decrease in firms’ capability to establish exchange relationships in the long-term. The basic motivations to enter collaborative relations include: risk sharing, access to extra strategic assets, new markets, better protection of property rights, new distribution channels, lower transaction costs, organizational learning, access to external knowledge shared in the networks, and most importantly access to complementary resources 1. In fact, when the knowledge base of an industry is both complex and expanding, and the resources are widely

dispersed among different companies, the locus of innovation is found in networks of learning rather than in individual firms 2 . The knowledge transfer among organizational units provides opportunities for mutual learning and inter-unit cooperation, which stimulates the creation of innovative ideas. On the other hand, knowledge is often “sticky� and difficult to spread. Therefore the process of knowledge transfer faces some difficulties in business collaborative networks, and this issue emphasizes the role of trust. As a cultural element, trust is a complex concept which refers to expectations about the reliability of individuals or firms on their behavior 3 . Specifically, a culture of trust is likely to make relations more substantial, deeper and open, so the relations carry more knowledge for innovation. Conversely, in a culture of distrust, individuals in some countries may not fully disclose or exchange information which agents regard as relevant in the network.

RESEARCH FINDINGS Finding a wide gap between the index for confidence to innovation which is 0.62%4 and





0.03 0.8












INNOVATION 0.78 0.32

the index for the real percentage of innovation which is no more than 0.18% 5 in Iranian companies, this study examines whether this gap (i.e. low innovation in Iranian companies) could be partly explained by low extent of interfirm collaborations due to the ineffective innovation culture and lack of trust. After reviewing the related literature, structured questionnaires were distributed among 400 managers or experts of non-food retail companies at both early and established stages in Tehran. The collected data were analyzed by statistical tools 6 and the results revealed that first, business collaborations improve innovation in Iranian firms. Second, this positive relationship was also discovered between trust culture and innovation. Finally, the moderating effect of trust in the relationship between networking and innovation was supported. In better words, Interfirm collaborations are more effective in fostering innovation




with the existence of trust within a society. Innovation in this survey was measured by three dimensions of ‘newness of technology’, ‘newness of the products or services for customers’, and ‘competitiveness’. Inter-firm collaborations also were measured based on different types of business relations aimed at ‘procuring supplies’, ‘producing goods and services’, ‘marketing’, ‘sale’, and ‘enhancing business effectiveness’. Trust was measured via a categorical variable based on the trust index released by Medrano (2013). According to that index, Iran is a low-trust country (21.8).

SUGGESTIONS Based on the findings, retailers are advised to consider collaborating as a powerful source for innovation. Membership and active participation in professional associations, societies, and consortiums create opportunities for retail companies to pool their resources in order to accomplish


References: 1 Pittaway et al, 2004 2 Schott, 2011 3 Lundvall et al. 2012 4 According to Levie, 2009 5 According to the 2010 global report of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 6 Via Structural Equation Modeling (SEM); LISREL 8.50

a common goal and reduce their costs in non-strategic areas of their business. It is also important for firms to choose more trustful networks to collaborate with. In fact, firms need to spread the feeling of trust through commitment to their agreements with other firms. Some suggestions for establishment of trust include: • Engagement of an intermediary: the neutral third party can chair among partners and settle disagreements when required; • Setting supportive regulations: Lawmakers can make the logical foundations for trust by establishing such official rules; • Effective meetings: companies – especially startups - can benefit such meetings at the beginning of their collaboration to allow partners to create trust and familiarity.

Mahya Bayat retail people | 29



2 1, 5, 7. Next Gen Guests 2. Jose Lora, COO, The Zubair Corporation 3. Maimunah Shebani, Strategy and Planning Manager, Real Estate and Hospitality Division, The Zubair Corporation’ 4 Kailash Gidwaney, Head of Mall and Commercial Leasing, Al Qandeel Real Estate Services thanking the Oman Chamber of Commerce 6. Mall Tour Participants 8. MECSC Board Members and Next Gen Organizers 9. Thank you to Gift Sponsor Patchi


30 | retail people




T 7





he beautiful Chedi Hotel in Muscat was the venue for the inaugural Next Gen Networking Event in Oman on November 12th, 2014. Maimunah Shebani, Strategy and Planning Manager, Real Estate and Hospitality Division, The Zubair Corporation, and MECSC Board Member, organized the most spectacular Next Generation Networking Event at the Chedi Hotel beach side pool deck. Attended by over 150 guests from all over the region, the event was a great success. Jose Lora COO for Real Estate and Hospitality from Zubair Corporation was the speaker featured at this event. In addition the Oman Chamber of Commerce received awards for their support of the retail industry in Oman. Thank you to The Zubair Corporation, The Avenues Mall, Bareeq Al Shatti Mall, and Patchi for their Sponsorship and tremendous support. The next morning we toured Bareeq Al Shatti, Markaz Al Bahja, City Center Muscat, and Muscat Grand Mall on a coach organized again by Maimunah and her team in Muscat. We enjoyed the camaraderie on the tour and learned about the success of the shopping centres in Muscat. We would also like to thank Kailash Gidwaney, Head of Mall and Commercial Leasing, Al Qandeel Real Estate Services for his great support of the Next Gen Event and Mall Tour. Thank you to each of the malls for their warm welcome and hospitality, along with Bateel for their special gift to each of the tour participants. retail people | 31


Milestones for the Driven Shopping Centre Professional


Avijit Yadav, CRX, CLS, CDP, CSM, CMD

Chief Operating Officer GLA Property Management Co. L.L.C 32 | retail people

I started in the shopping centre business as a marketing manager for 2 malls in Dubai and I often visited ICSC events in the USA, met with other marketing professionals, studied their programs and wondered if I could compete with them. A casual remark by my boss telling me I should try and get the CMD got me moving and I finally took the exam in the USA in 2001. In those days

we did not have the option of taking the exams on computers. The 6 week wait to get the results was agonizing but finally rewarding. Later in my career I moved to Canada and shifted from marketing into management. And then from Canada to Dubai/ Kuwait where I worked in management/ development/ marketing and to an extent leasing at a strategic level. As I gained experience in new areas of the business I had the opportunity to test myself by taking the certifications.

WHAT IT ENTAILED Pursuing designations forced me to do many things. I read a lot to get familiar with all aspects of the shopping centre business - ICSC books, the internet, ICSC.

Avijit Yadav is only one of 12 individuals, among ICSC’s 65,000+ members worldwide who holds the CRX, CSM, CMD, CLS and CDP designations

org, industry journals, documents at work and so on. This threw up questions and doubts, so I networked with colleagues to debate issues, problems and ideas on a regular basis. I connected with friends and people in the Industry in Canada, USA and Dubai, across marketing, management, leasing, design and asset management. And this continued through the years that I pursued the designations resulting in lasting friendships, better understanding and knowledge and greater confidence . I also ended up looking at day to day work differently as I applied theory to practice and made adjustments and grappled with implementation of concepts that often collided with cultural barriers. All


this helped me learn at a rapid pace and prepare for the designations. There was a price to pay as all this eat into personal and family time.

THE BENEFITS All said and done the main benefit of pursuing the designations for me was a much higher level of engagement with the business, my colleagues and the Industry which I think has been invaluable for me as it has helped me to remain driven. I felt a higher drive to excel and contribute to work and to the Industry. And in a way this made me volunteer at the ICSC and MECSC in education and industry service. Certification indicates that one is accomplished and this was good for personal motivation and self image also.

Certifications help you get jobs - when I moved from Dubai to Canada in 2005 and was looking for a job one of the things that helped me get a foot in the door was the CMD designation. Amongst other things the job required a CMD certification and my boss confirmed to me that while it was not the only decision making criteria, it did help in convincing her that I had pedigree. You will end up with a reference library as you buy books and this is a good thing to have. Often colleagues ask me to lend them books which I do but I always advice them to invest in building their own library of shopping centre books and journals.

WHY ALL 5 CERTIFICATIONS Because they are there to be

achieved. I was fortunate that I had the opportunity to work across most areas of the shopping centre business making me eligible to apply for the designations. As I moved from marketing to management to development and gained experience, understanding and knowledge, I saw the designations as milestones to be achieved. And as I achieved them the more motivated I became to achieve the remaining designations. I have been an ICSC member since 1995 participated in several ICSC programs across North America and the Middle East that I would call industry milestones - John T Riordan School, Recon, MAXI, Global Awards, ICSC Faculty, ICSC sub-committees, Regional board/ representative. All these milestones help us in bettering ourselves and at the same time contributing to the industry. ICSC designations can serve as important milestones that propel us as we move through our careers.

YOU SHOULD GIVE IT A TRY I believe if one has the required experience that ICSC stipulates, puts in effort to enhance/ finetune that experience with added knowledge through reading up and networking with colleagues to discuss and debate thoughts, achieving the designations is well within reach. You should give it a try... It’ been an exciting journey for me so far and I would be happy to help anyone embarking on their own. Connect if you need to at retail people | 33

ICSC Retail Connections

25 March 2015 Business Design Centre London, United Kingdom

Your platform for success

with international retailers The global deal-making event bringing leasing professionals from around the world together with global retail brands in one place on one efficient day.

ICSC Global Partner

ICSC European Partners


Confirmed Exhibitors to date: Apsys Arabian Centres Atrium European Real Estate British Land Carrefour Property CBRE CBRE Global Investors Citycon Colliers International Cushman & Wakefield DEAS

Devimo Consult DTZ ECE Projektmanagement Eurocommercial Properties FASHION HOUSE Group Hammerson IKEA Centres Europe IKEA Shopping Centres Russia Immochan Immofinanz

Italian Pavilion managed by CNCC Italy JLL KlÊpierre - Steen & Strøm Land Securities Multi Corporation Nordic Pavilion managed by Nordic Council of Shopping Centers Pragma Management Red Sea Mall

For more information, email or visit

Redevco reteam group Savills Sonae Sierra SRV Group Unibail-Rodamco United Brands Association of Turkey Westfield Zsar Outlet Village