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Middle Eastern Influence on the Global Catwalk

The Fashion Central in Riyadh

Rebranding Al Jasser Group

Fashion hion and Beauty FEATURING: Ms. Samar Akkou, CSM, CLS

Youngest Woman to achieve ICSC Certification in the Middle East EVENTS







A strategic design approach for new or renovation retail projects applying a comprehensive range of consulting services:

Research & Analysis


Market Audit

Strategy & Finance Tenant Mix Leasing ROI

Architecture Interiors Signage

Marketing Branding

Campaigns Coordination Creative

Graphic Design Identity Enviroment

Integrated Retail Design Solutions Limelight Creative Services is a boutique retail agency that integrates design with a business strategy utilizing a team of experienced industry professionals, allowing you to succeed in a more competitive retail market.




ASALA HOLDING - THE FASHION CENTRAL IN RIYADH Fashion yourself at one of Asala’s Malls










DIGITAL RETAILING: A strategic Model for Shopping Centres



CERTIFY YOUR WAY TO THE TOP! Youngest Female in the Middle East Ever to Achieve ICSC Certification







Disclaimer: The viewpoints, articles and opinions contained in the Retail People Magazine are not necessarily those of the MECSC or ICSC. Retail People | 3

welcome UAE’s perfume market to reach

Middle East Council of Shopping Centres 803, BurJuman Business Tower PO Box 43972, Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 359 7909 Fax: +971 4 355 8818

The Retail People Magazine is

AED 1.12 Billion in gross annual sales

circulated in 45 countries and softcopies

by 2017!!! We have a great article by

digitally delivered to 10,000 readers.

Raffi Ayad Group Executive Director of

We receive great comments from our

the Al Jasser Group on the state of the

members who utilize our magazine

perfume industry locally and globally.

to showcase their latest successes.

Now with Arabian Oud stores in many

Our advertisers also tell us they have

places around the world, the perfume

positive feedback and recognition from

industry is set to see new venues and

the ads placed with us.

new markets explored. Matalan posts year over year growth

As we approach the deadlines for publishing each issue our team at the

for stylish value fashion. Young new

David Macadam

MECSC receives significant articles

fashion graduates take the lead in

Chief exeCutive OffiCer david@meCsC.Org

written by the retail leaders in the

Matalan propelling the business to new

region. Please join in the excitement,

heights. The article this month by Stella

take the time to write something which

Lea Venezuela

Marie Velasco speaks of the success of

is prominent in your mind. Support

direCtOr lea@meCsC.Org

Matalan in this growing retail niche.

your career and the MECSC by writing

The CEO of Asala Holding Co., Fouad

Mariz Matocdo marKetiNg OffiCer CustOmerCare@meCsC.Org

Khaye Comanda aCCOuNtiNg suppOrt exeCutive aCCOuNts@meCsC.Org

articles about the corner of the retail

Abdullah Al Rashed speaks of the many

industry which you want to showcase.

variables which make shopping centres

Mariz at

vibrant, successful and just what it takes

now handles the Retail People

to keep the customers coming back.

Magazine and would be pleased to

Samar Akkou from Lebanon outlines

work with you to publish your work. We truly appreciate the support of

what it takes to become one of the

Reymond Lagmay

youngest recipients globally of both

or members, writers and advertisers

publishiNg COOrdiNatOr/ aCCOuNtiNg suppOrt exeCutive publishiNg@meCsC.Org

the CLS and CSM - ICSC designations.

who contribute in so many ways to the

Christian Baldonanza membership/database aCCOuNtiNg exeCutive membership@meCsC.Org

Muhammad Qaisar from ORIX

success of the Retail People Magazine.

Finance has penned an interesting

Thank you and please enjoy this

article on the prominence of finance

February 2016 issue of the Retail

in retail and making the business run

People Magazine.

smoothly. A great read and certainly worthy of your time to check it out. One of our roles at the Middle East Council of Shopping Centres is to provide a platform for open communication to make the retail industry a better and more informed place. A key to success

Media One Tower Dubai Media City PO Box 2331, Dubai, UAE T: +971 4 427 3000 F: +971 4 428 2261 Chris Capstick

for our team is to help you to facilitate your business and to raise your personal profile in the retail industry locally,

David Macadam CEO MECSC

regionally and globally.

Shane Eldstrom, CRX, CSM, CLS, CDP COO, Al Farwaniya Property Developments LLC 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, Head of Leasing and Marketing, the Abdali boulevard Company PSC (VP)

Ingrid Valles

Shakeel Hussain, GM business development, Landmark Group (treasurer)

seNiOr assigNmeNts editOr

Mohammed Iqbal Alawi, CeO, red Sea Markets Co.

Rouf Majid seNiOr desigNer

Simon Wilcock, CeO, Arabian Centres real estate Co.

Sunil Kumar

Marwan Eskandarani, Group retail Property director, Kamal Osman Jamjoom Group LLC

geNeral maNager - prOduCtiON

Khalid Moh’d Aldhubaie, CLO, Arabian Centres real estate Co.

Printed by iPP

Dalia Finj, Chair, MeCSC reCon Committee

4 | Retail People

Asala Holding Company

Fashion yourselF at one oF asala's Malls


ow to set your spirits soaring? Give your morale a big boost? Forget the cares of the day and go, enjoy your local mall. The ASALA Group has a passion for imagining and creating modern malls that excite your senses. A mall, inspirationally created by ASALA, is a feast-for-the eye even before you step through its doors; a pleasure in anticipating what’s in store (literally) for the whole family. Today, the beautifully designed themes of ASALA's malls are planned to the last detail to deliver maximum entertainment value while you shop. ASALA to date, has delivered more than 18 shopping-and pleasure experiences since they opened for business in 2008 and every mall has the ‘wow’ factor. Once you’re inside an ASALA mall there’s fashion for all the family. Fouad Abdullah Al Rashed, CEO, Asala Holding Co. World-class brands and latest styles One mall customer expressed this very well. all under one roof. “A fashion store, on its own is fine. But you’re ASALA work closely with its retailers getting only one fashion range. I like to be and enjoys a great relationship with them. surprised. Quite by chance to find that new Result? In an ASALA mall you enjoy the best outfit, designer bag and instantly, fall in love mix of world class brands, lots of choice and with it”. the latest styles.

Fouad Abdullah Al Rashed, CEO, Asala Holding Co. Retail People | 5

Asala Holding Company

Shopping malls, by their very nature, are competitive on price. You don’t need to burst your budget to treat yourself to stylish shoes in the window that whispered: “I’ve been waiting here for you – I’m your size”. ASALA specialists create what they call the “optimum interior environment”. In consumer language that means – maximum pleasure. Lighting for example, is as natural as possible to complement that sense of spaciousness. You might not know it but “daylight light” in the mall makes you feel happier. An ASALA designed mall is good for your health. Why? Consider this. Stroll its spacious corridors and you’re exercising mind and body pleasantly, without even realising it. You are a fashion VIP. An ASALA mall combines space, light, colour and scale to relax you as you shop. Consider, while you’re browsing this season’s new look you’re not stuck in your office wrestling mentally, with that ‘mission impossible’ email your boss sent. You, Mum, are not in your kitchen wondering why your washing machine is ominously silent; not actually washing. ASALA never forgets design and décor in home. So, the typical

Once you’re inside an ASALA mall there’s fashion for all the family. World-class brands and latest styles all under one roof. 6 | Retail People

ASALA mall offers the discerning home maker everything from a startling pattern on a bed comforter that reminds you of a famous painting (but costs a great deal less) to exactly the pair of tall lights for the family room you’ve been searching for. ASALA is a feast of fine foods too. After Mum bought that gold bracelet that practically leapt onto her wrist you can all take your ease in the Food Court. Enjoy your favourite snack. “Now, is there anything we’ve forgotten to buy?” Only one thought bothers me now. What on earth did we all do to satisfy our fashion cravings before ASALA gave us such wonderful shopping centres?

That stresses me out so much I think I need some therapy time in my local mall…


One 5 year old, happily shopping with his family, pointed to a huge rollercoaster descending with a high speed. “Baba! – he asked – how did they get such a rollercoaster through the front doors?” Only ASALA and its partners know the answer to this one.

Asala Holding Company

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NETWORKING EVENT We are pleased to invite you to the Riyadh Next Generation Networking Reception which brings retail industry professionals together to facilitate business development, knowledge sharing and networking. The reception will take place on Tuesday, 16th February 2016 from 6:00pm until 9:00pm at the Sheraton Riyadh Hotel & Towers. We look forward to seeing you all there!

RSVP online at or call MECSC at +971 4 359 7909 for more details Main Sponsor




Please show your

MECSC or ICSC Card at the entrance

Retail People | 7


8 | Retail People


Our Sponsors and Partners:


• •

Magrabi Retail Arabian Oud


Arabian Centres


Kinan International Real Estate Development (CJSC)

Line Investments & Property LLC


• •

Red Sea Mall

Aswaq Management & Services

Mudon Ahlia Real Estate

Intimaa Real Estate Services


• • •

CELS Dalma Mall Al Othaim Real Estate Investment & Dev. Co.


• • • • •

Alyasra Fashion Amer Malls Brands International Matalan Yardi


Kinan International Real Estate Development (CJSC)


Line Investments & Property LLC



he MECSC has recently hosted the RECon Conference in Dubai at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel DIFC. We broke all records in 2015 with over 795+ delegates attending the event over the two days!! The Gala Awards Dinner enjoyed a completely sold out 540 seats in the Ball Room on the last evening of the conference. The team at the MECSC want to thank all who made the event the true success it was!!! From the delegates from around the world, to speakers sharing their latest learning, to the sponsors and exhibitors who brought the event to life… we thank you!!! More sponsors, more exhibitors and more activities including the Deal Making Session hosted by RLI made the event lively and inclusive. Ron Kaufman was the keynote speaker. Ron is truly a legend in the service world. In his New York Times Best Selling book, Uplifting Service, Ron outlines the Proven Path to great service. His animated presentation had the audience thoroughly entertained and educated at the same time. Later in the conference, Ron hosted a gathering of CEO’s with a one on one session, again showing the participants how to engage at the highest level in the best practices of delivering world class service.

Our session, Empowering Women Leaders in the Retail Sector was voted the true favorite portion of our conference by the delegates. H.E. Laila Mohammad Suhail, Rania Mushtaha, Nisreen Shocair were on the stage with Katie Fielder. The role of women in industry globally is a personal juggling exercise. The retail world, which is all about change, is even more challenging to keep up to the minute with the latest trends. Our speakers had amazing insights and were forthcoming on how to manage your professional life. The Magrabi Retail Group showcased the latest fit out design for their new retail shops. The delegates were impressed at the high level of thought which went into the display and the detailed shop fittings which are industry leading. Arabian Oud, part of the Al Jasser Group provided a uniquely created and special scent as a gift to all delegates in the Marina Home Gala Gift Bag. We thank our many sponsors for their dedication in delivering the support in time and also financially making this event the best ever. Again our delegates state “at the RECon Conference you can easily complete a years worth of business in the two days of the RECon Conference”. We look forward to another great RECon Conference in 2016!!! Retail People | 9


Welcome Reception LanyaRd SponSoR

Brands International

StatIoneRy SponSoR

Reem Mall

excLuSIve GaLa dInneR SponSoR

Mall of Qatar

excLuSIve GaLa dInneR cocktaIL SponSoR


GaLa & deLeGate GIft SponSoRS

• • •

arabian oud Brands International kinan International Real estate development (cJSc)

Line Investment & property LLc

Red Sea Mall

GaLa GIft BaG & GIft SponSoR

Marina Home

offIcIaL aIRLIne paRtneR


SuppoRt paRtneRS

• • •

aZdef kingsmen Middle east v flower Boutique

StRateGIc paRtneR

Right Selection

deaL MakInG SponSoR & MedIa paRtneR


MedIa paRtneRS

• •

khaleej times Sct

offIcIaL tecHnoLoGy paRtneR


10 | Retail People

Stephen Lebovitz, Chairman, ICSC and David Macadam, CEO, MECSC

Stephen Lebovitz at the RECon MENA Welcome Reception





Gala Dinner

Stephen Lebovitz (ICSC) with Hosam Alqurashi (Nahdi Medical Company) winner of the Retail Professional of the Year

Katie Fielder, News Anchor, Dubai One RECon MENA MC

Maimunah Soliman Shebani, Strategy & Planning Manager, The Zubair Corporaration and Shawqi Ghanem, Managing Director, Grand Optics

Winners of 2015 Middle East & North Africa Shopping Centre & Retailer Awards




ubai based Fashion Designers take on the global fashion scene with an Arabic flair & versatility like no other, deriving their inspiration & creative energy from the incredibly multifaceted region. At the 2015 Grammy Awards, Pop Diva Beyonce was adorned in Dubai based Amato Haute Couture; Amato was Launched in 2002 in the UAE, Amato (Beloved in Italian) is the brainchild of the creative designer Furne One; originally hailing from the Philippines, Amato’s signature collections are seen as timeless modern classics. Amato’s exclusive clientele includes supermodel Heidi Klum, Katy Perry, Jennifer Lopez, Nicki Minaj, Shakira, Nicole Scherzinger, Amber Rose & Beyonce. Known as the global trendsetter is the Syrian-born fashion couturier, Rami Al Ali; based in Dubai since 2000. Ali’s work has been hailed as refined aesthetics; his talent lies in his ability to manipulate soft fabric using detailed, meticulous lattice cutouts, and the addition of solid embellishments like crystals, to create a garment that is at once structured and fluid. Ali’s clientele includes Natasha Bedingfield, Vanessa Mae, Ivana Trump, Youssra & Googoosh.

Zareen Khan, Founder of w2w Events & PR

Amongst the young and upcoming designers is Sheikha Madiyah Al Sharqi, the daughter of the Ruler of Fujairah, HH Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi. Her showcase grabbed the attention of Kim Kardashian at the Paris Fashion Week. Her collection features an array of garments, from gowns to jumpsuits – injecting timeless silhouettes with fresh colours and fabrics without losing Al Sharqi’s regal sensibility.

The influence of Arabic culture has never been so evident in the Fashion industry before, it was in 2010 when the French luxury brand Givenchy used Keffiyah inspired designs on the runway; followed by dresses again seen in 2014 in the New York Fashion week and Spanish brand Zara, the world’s largest fashion house, cut shorts out of a Keffiyeh. Even Nike incorporated sports jackets with Keffiyehs for “Cultural contrast Retail People | 13


of symbolism” art project designed by Dutch artist Sander Reijgersd. The traditional Abaya gets a Fashion makeover by Dubai based Designer Dutchess Riley, an American designer inspired by the Middle East. Dutchess's Closet, established in 2013, reintroduces Abayas, for ‘every woman’; offering comfort, style and unique embellishments for functional and aesthetic purposes; the collection includes 'MyAbaya' for everyday wear; 'Kimono' lounge; 'Urban' Office wear; 'Travel' Abaya & Sport Abaya.



CULTURAL INFLUENCE: • Middle East & Asia will be prominent influencers in global fashion COLOURS OF 2016: • Navy blues • Bordeaux red • Mustards • Oranges • Skin tone pinks and beiges • Black never die TEXTURES OF 2016: • Furs • Feathers • Fringe • Jerseys

14 | Retail People

• Lawns • Raw silks • Chiffons Layered fabrics such as laces and jeweled embroideries DESIGNS: • Dusters for spring (long cardigans) • Full length vintage style skirts • Boot cut trousers • School girl blouses • Lots of lace • Ankle length 1950's trousers • Swing coats • Exotic prints

Dutchess explains; “As a designer from the Western world, I am infatuated with the abundance of style and adornments Abayas represent, through my designs I wanted to offer efficient & functional Abayas for everyday life.”


ArAbiAn oud the smell of big business


ven with the boom of the digital shopper and e-commerce in the last decade, consumers are keeping the trend of walking around the retail physical world. This path is punctuated by fragrances, and local perfume brands are playing a key role in the GCC retail mix. Arabian Oud, established in the year 1982, specializing in high quality perfumes, owns 34 percent of the total beauty products sales in the region. With more than 30 years of expertise in the production of authentic

Raffi Ayad, Group Executive Director, Arabian Oud 16 | Retail People

Arabian Oud, YAS Mall, Abu Dhabi

scents, Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Al Jasser, founder and chairman, still travels the world to source the finest of essential oils and flowers, to customize fragrances. What started in the 80s as the Arabian scent of luxury evolved to become a prominent international empire, embracing trends and relentless change. “Oud and oriental scents are the mark of the culture air, says Mr. Raffi Ayad, Group Executive Director. Tourists purchased the best of Arabian Oud’s creation as an exotic souvenir of their travels, taking home notes of incense


and natural oils, in addition to the highly concentrated western fragrances. A line of products has started to be one of Arabian Oud’s main strengths. Nowadays, all the luxurious brands introduced the oriental accord in their latest mixtures, when we definitely kept them all, adding to them a complete collection of floral, fresh and woody aromas”. Arabian Oud opened up its horizons for every possible creation. The mall culture in the GCC, imposed on retailers a wider spread. Big Business outlets, have a loud presence in each and every one of them. “Arabian Oud, aggressively competing with international brands, imposed on renowned perfume makers to introduce in the past five years, oriental scents inspired by our product range”, mentioned Ayad. While Oud became a main component in bottles by Tom Ford, Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Roberto Cavalli only to name a few. The range became complete for retailers who compete fiercely in this sector. UAE’s perfume market projected to reach AED1.12 billion by 2017, according to new research by Euromonitor International. Led by few major players, Arabian Oud is at the heart of the retail Mix. With 700 outlets in the region, the company launched in the summer of 2000, a flagship store on Oxford Street, London, allowing the west to experience the scents of the East. Since then, Arabian Oud opened many outlets all over Europe, from Paris to Moscow, and Arabian Oud, Paris Champs Elysee

Arabian Oud opened many outlets all over Europe, from Paris to Moscow, and crossed the Atlantic to conquer New York. The brand will reach 720 branches in 2016.

crossed the Atlantic to conquer New York. The brand will reach 720 branches in 2016. Setting high standards of international excellence, Arabian Oud roots are still embedded in its original heritage. The collection of fragrances attracts every shopper. “It is no longer for the unique oriental taste”, emphasizes Ayad. “When shopping for a new perfume, our perfumeries are a first destination for many, and we all agree that both, women and men, will never stop spending on perfumes”. The Middle East ranks the highest in the world in terms of per-capita perfume consumption. 'In an ambiance where everyone wants to smell good, leaving a tangible trace with every path is a beautiful and sensuous aim”, finished by Raffi Ayad. Retail People | 17




here is nothing like the feeling of knowledge gained and the sense of pride and joy that you will experience when you obtain your first certification from the International Council of Shopping Centres (ICSC). As one of the first females in the Middle East to become a Certified Shopping Centre Manager (CSM) in 2014, I can tell you that hard work really pays off. After years of field experience in the shopping centre industry in different roles such as in finance, marketing, leasing, coupled with countless hours of studying and attending courses in class room settings, and online classes, I passed the exam. You can too.

ICSC offers several certifications in multiple languages to cater to the linguistic needs of the different parts of the world: CertifiCAtion type

LAnguAgeS exAM iS DeLivereD in

Certified Shopping Centre Management (CSM)

English, Spanish, Turkish, Chinese, Arabic

Certified Marketing Director (CMD)

English, Spanish

Certified Leasing Specialist (CLS)

English, Spanish, Arabic

Certified Retail Property Executives (CRX)


Specialty Leasing Designation (SLD)


Certified Development, Design and Construction Professional (CDP)

English, Spanish

Haitham Sleiman, CSM Senior Operations Manager - Regional Majid Al Futtaim Properties

Samar Akkou, CSM, CLS, Leasing Manager Citymall s.a.l. 18 | Retail People

CSM: It requires at least 4 years of qualified experience in the several business facets, like facility management

and maintenance, leasing administration and negotiations, retailing, merchandising, marketing and communications, financing, insurance, security and law, and is awarded after passing a rigorous and thorough 100-question exam. Haitham Sleiman (Operations - Senior Manager Regional Malls, Majid Al Futtaim Properties), a proud CSM holder, believes that “CSM is an important milestone in your career path ensuring that you gain the international standards and best practices know-how”.

He also notes that “it helps middle level professionals rise up the career ladder and aids experienced professionals acquire deeper knowledge of the industry”.

CLS: It requires at least 4 years of qualifying experience in shopping centre temporary and longterm leasing with active and substantial responsibility in leasing Shopping Centres, and is awarded after passing a half-day written examination. Lima Darwich (Senior Leasing Manager, McArthur + Company) states


Lima Darwich, CLS Senior Leasing Manager McARTHUR+COMPANY

Shane Eldstrom, CRX, CSM, CLS, CDP Chief Operating Officer Al Farwaniya Property Developments LLC

Mohamed Lotfy, CRX, CSM, CLS Business Consultant - Property Management Mudon Ahlia Real Estate

“Becoming CLS provided me in-depth insight into the leasing industry and helped enhance my overall expertise. The most valuable part of the CLS certification was exposure to all the leasing industry attributes, furthering my knowledge and understanding. The experience gained has boosted my career progression and professional competence.”

late night cram session the night before, when the exam came back instantly with “you passed” I was ecstatic. The certification itself is not easy to obtain and signals to employers not only competence, but commitment”.

amongst my peers & recognized as one of the experts within the Real Estate Industry is honestly considered my pride and joy”.

CMD: It requires at least 4 years of qualifying experience in shopping centre marketing, research, marketing plan implementation, communications, relations, advertising and media, and is awarded after passing a half-day written examination.

CRX: It requires a minimum of 8 years of qualifying experience in retailing, retail property performance, profitability, and industry executive leadership, and is awarded after passing a rigorous exam. Mohamed Lotfy (Business Consultant – Property Management, Mudon Ahlia Real Estate) says “being certified in CRX, CSM and recently CLS, is an honor within itself. As an Egyptian and Arab being globally certified, positioned

SLD: It requires at least 8 years of qualifying work experience in shopping centre specialty leasing and completing a mandatory 15-module study course. Believe me it’s worth it! As a CSM and CLS holder, I share with my colleagues the same feelings of pride and honor in this achievement, the added value knowledge, the incredible network we create along this path, the experience gained, the career progression, and the improved professional competence. Join us!

CDP: It requires at least 5 years of qualifying experience in shopping centre development, design, and/ or construction, and is awarded after passing a half-day written exam. Shane Edstrom (Chief Operating Officer, Al Farwaniya Property Developments); a holder of 4 certifications being CSM, CLS, CDP, CRX, says “The first ICSC Certification exam I took was for my CSM. After more than 6 months of studying including a

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22 | Retail People


Relevance of Style in value Retail PRoductS

Matalan , Gulf Mall


rom the day Matalan was established in 1985, introduced to Middle East market in 2009 and until today, we still uphold our commitment in providing products with value for money. But is it enough to encourage customer to buy its products? Of course not, Matalan takes time to listen, understand and evolve to fit the changing needs of the market. We then provide our range of stylish garments at a lower price. Style in a simple term is said to be

one’s fashion but how important is style in value retail products? according to Guy W. Mullarkey in his research study of “the Influence of Brands in the Fashion Purchasing Process”, style concerns the look of a garment that influences a person to buy a product. It’s one of the critical factors of a product that affects consumer purchasing. It carries distinct features for a brand which can create value for customers. (e.g. I need a new stylish dress – I’ll go to Matalan).

Stella Marie Velasco, Communications Supervisor, Matalan

Matalan , Oman avenues Mall

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How MATALAN achieved sense of style while maintaining lower cost of the product? MATALAN has developed superior organisational capabilities by hiring young, newly graduated designers and involve them in every stage of manufacturing. They set up in-house teams where the buyers sit alongside with designers to enable the team to better understand the customer wants through a collection of customer’s feedback – online and instore. Also, manufacturing is outsourced through a network of factories around the world. All these

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MATALAN , Wafi Mall

strategies provide a significant cost savings for MATALAN. That is why MATALAN pays attention to the needs, not only of “priceconscious”, but of “fashion-conscious” consumer as well. MATALAN seeks the importance of fashion in consumer lives

and the concept of their own style. We bring fashion in line with the latest trends of the season without sacrificing the rational factor – price. Our customers don’t need to choose between style & price but they can choose both at MATALAN !


Middle east CounCil of shopping Centers holds next gen event in MusCat

T Maimunah Soliman Shebani, Strategy & Planning Manager, The Zubair Corporaration

he Middle East Council of Shopping Centers (MECSC) recently held its annual networking event at the Turtle Beach in the Shangri-la’s Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa in Muscat, Oman. The event which was attended by more than 120 people from throughout the region was organized by Maimunah Shebani, MECSC’s Regional Representative of Oman and Strategy & Business Development Manager for INMA. Welcoming the attendees, Maimunah emphasized that there are new and exciting things happening in the retail sector in Oman and also the

importance of such gatherings to strengthen the relationships between the industry professionals, while providing a valuable opportunity to share expertise and to discuss the latest developments in the sector. The CEO of The Middle East Council of Shopping Centers David Macadam expressed his happiness to connect with regional retail professionals and highlighted the role of the MECSC in the region and the importance of these events to strengthen relationships. Networking plays a vital role in the industry in developing the retail sector.

Welcome address by David Macadam with Maimunah Soliman Shebani

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During proceedings, Abdul-Rahman Touqan, Head of Investments and Business Development from Amjaad Holding introduced Liwan Investments, taking the opportunity to announce commencement of Leasing for the Liwan Alsafeena Shopping Centre in Ghubra and Al Muzn Shopping Centre in Mawalih. The two new outlets add new destinations for the entertainment and shopping sectors in the Sultanate and will contribute in boosting tourism in Sultanate while attracting new global brands to the Sultanate. Concluding the event, Certificates of Appreciation were handed to sponsors of the event and special thanks were given to the main sponsors of the event: INMA, Bareeq Al Shatti, Safeer Mall Sohar, MATALAN, Brands International, Liwan Investment and gift sponsors of the event Patchi and Arabian Oud.

Oman Networking Event 26 | Retail People


10 TOP




art of the ‘day to day’ duty we practice as retail professionals, is the fact that we have to always share a meaningful awareness of recent ‘industry facts’ to our colleagues and counterparts. This is due to scarceness of government information and relevant publications in most cases in our region. Having written an article this time for the general reader, I decided to share 10 insights of why retailers should consider Oman as their next destination of retail business expansion. I can guarantee that many people are excited by now, not to mention those who were looking for such a list. Well, here we start…


According to the World Bank actual data for year 2014, Oman Ranks 21st out of 185 countries with $43,143 GDP per capita. It surpasses countries like United Kingdom ($39,137), France ($38,851) and Japan ($36,426). An indication of decent purchasing power.


As per our internal company statistics, we still find that a very sizable ‘lack of retail outlet brands’ is still present in comparison to Dubai retail market availability. However, the opportunity presents itself by counting the number of travelers from Oman visiting Dubai for shopping experience purposes on periodic basis until date. This phenomenon is due to proximity and availability of more product options in Dubai retail market that are mainly ‘spilling over’ to Oman over time.


The shopping culture is there in Oman. Local Omani nationals and expatriates are already exposed to surrounding shopping destinations since the 1990s. While awareness is increasing year on year, local demand of more outlet brands to be introduced to the market have been always expressed.

Abdul-Rahman Touqan, Head of Investments and Business Development, Amjaad Holding Retail People | 27




If you follow articles pointing to shortages of retail GLA per capita in several parts of Oman to what it is supposed to be, you will realize that shortages exist. In fact, the retail space supply per capita is much less than Dubai retail Supply per capita. Thus, this confirms a shortage in Retail space supply and in some cases, a branded retail outlet availability. There are plenty of destinations that yet to welcome quality retail projects. For example, in Nizwa, a city with over 100,000 population, being the center of Ad-Dakhliya Governorate that hosts over 411,000 people, is just receiving the first Carrefour hypermarket in Q1 2016 with around 7,000+ sq m of GLA as part of Nizwa Grand Mall. This brave move from MAF can tell a lot! The infrastructure of the country is being significantly enhanced. We just witnessed the opening of the new Salalah Airport and watching the new Muscat International Airport being developed at a fast pace. A Railway national project has been also announced to connect to the rest of the GCC and Jordan according to published maps. Not to forget, Duqm Freezone and Duqm Port directly located on the Indian Ocean and the new coastal highway from Muscat to Sohar.

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The attractiveness of the country comes with its’ natural beauty throughout History. Salalah Mountains, ‘Jabal Shams’ and ‘Strait of Hormuz’ are few to mention. The potential of combining such destinations with quality retail can be very viable in many cases for Oman tourists.


The recently introduced and announced retail projects are mind blowing. In addition to Mall of Oman, Barka Grand Centre and Avenues of Oman, many shopping destinations are growing quickly all over the country. This is a true sign that something right is happening for the future of retail business.


Government support via subsidies to electricity, water and oil products are providing a ‘cost effective’ business environment when it comes to cost of operation and cost of logistics to retailers.


Retail rents are offered at affordable rates to retailers in comparison to neighbouring countries.


Last but not least, an ongoing pro-economic growth through Royal decrees and new legislations are announced on a countrywide level. This contributes to enhancing the functionality of the business environment and provides new opportunities to new retailers.


Digital Retailing: a StRategic MoDel foR Shopping centeRS

E Jim Okamura, Managing Partner, Okamura Consulting

commerce continues its steady march, growing globally across every retail sector in every country. With each passing year, new records are shattered, such as China’s recent Singles Day, or the Black Friday weekend to kickoff the US holiday shopping season. Regardless of the market, ecommerce, bolstered by explosive growth in mobile shopping, far outpaces the growth of store-based retail. For shopping centers and property developers this unabated growth is a huge threat, yet we’re likely on the cusp of unprecedented digital retail development in the shopping center industry. Given the modest digital investment to date the task is daunting, yet the pull of digitally savvy shoppers makes it seem inevitable. The question is how this investment will manifest, and drive business strategy forward. The hottest trend in retail is omnichannel retailing, or the coordinated integration of digital and physical retailing. The industry transformation can be rapid, such as the proliferation of “Drive” formats (“Click and Collect”, or

drive-through pickup of online orders) in the French market, where the number of Drive locations has surpassed the number of hypermarkets. Yet we are witnessing a gradual development of omnichannel that provides opportunities for shopping centers to define their role in digital retailing. Our strategic model for digital retail, the web strategy spectrum, is depicted below. As with retailers, the same principles apply to business partners in the retail ecosystem, such as shopping centers. Companies base their digital strategy along the spectrum, and how that changes over time as assets grow and market opportunities arise.

On one end of the spectrum are pure ecommerce strategies. Should shopping centers leverage their relationships with retailers, and operating skills to actively sell online e.g., develop their own online marketplace such as Westfield Australia? Or through leveraging other companies’ digital assets through partnerships with Tmall, Amazon, or Google? The operational complexities of building and running a large scale ecommerce operation may be far from your core strengths, yet many ecommerce companies have scaled through partnerships and alliances. The key is leveraging your Retail People | 29

Opinion strengths be they long standing retailer relationships, or access to capital and operating budgets. The benefits are many but include developing assets and relationships with end consumers, and nurturing skills in digital marketing and analytics. The most obvious challenge is the contradiction with the core mall business, unless the tenants can share in the risk and reward. Other prominent challenges include the absence of specialized skills to grow an ecommerce business, and the willingness to invest for the long term before realizing profitability. On the other end of the spectrum are omnichannel, or digital integration strategies that combine digital shopping with physical stores. The strategy spectrum plays upon the fact that ecommerce and omnichannel strategies draw from the same pool of resources, forcing tough decisions to focus

on a chosen strategy and not get “spread too thinly”. An omnichannel strategy can take many forms, including programs that drive mall traffic (e.g., click and collect, integrated marketing promotions, mobile apps, online order returns), with an eye to creating synergy with tenants and overall productivity gains for the mall and tenants. The strategy would likely have many elements that combine digital (e.g., marketing, website or mobile development) and physical operations (e.g., mall-based order fulfillment, customer service). The benefits are clearly intended to improve asset productivity, while growing digital capabilities. However, omnichannel retailing has proven to be difficult for even the most operationally buttoned-down retailer. For a shopping center, aggregating multiple brands into cohesive,

integrated digital programmes, the operational complexity cannot be under-estimated. At risk is disappointing the customer with a poor shopping experience. Finally, hybrid strategies combine elements of both ecommerce and omnichannel strategies described above. In mature economies, most retailers can be characterized as having a “modified cross-channel strategy”, as we maintain a delicate balance of high ecommerce growth while advancing their omnichannel capabilities. Shopping centers may take their cue from their tenants and seek to transform over time to be more digitally fluent, with a plan to scale their digital operations as the market, and their own capabilities dictate. Digital retailing is here to stay, and for most shopping centers the time is right to choose which path is right for their digital strategy.


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T Muhammad Mustapha Qaisar, Business

he UAE’s retail sector will experience significant growth over the next few years as local and regional consumers turn to it as the destination shopping hub of the Middle East, industry experts predict. “Dubai’s retail sales turnover was estimated at USD 39.6bn in 2013 by A.T. Kearney. By conservatively assuming an average 4.5-5.5% annual GDP growth rate up to 2020, we estimate that Dubai's retail sales turnover will reach USD 55.7bn over the next seven years”. Sector Economics 2014, Emirates NBD. Based on market research, Al Hail ORIX Finance structure’s financing solutions specifically for the SME sector to give entrepreneurs an opportunity to acquire assets without putting a burden on company cash flows. Currently “The retailing industry in UAE will see a 7% average growth rate, with regard to value, over the next five years”, The National. In light of the current retail trends Al Hail ORIX has recently launched two products designed specifically to facilitate the retail business which are as follow:

and Product Development Manager, Al Hail ORIX Finance 32 | Retail People

FIT OUT FINANCE At Al Hail ORIX we understand that quality retail fit outs and expansion’s come at a price. Our Fit Out finance solution is a unique product offering which

helps convert your retail requirement into a reality.

RENT FINANCE The Rent Finance product takes care or your rent burden. SME’s can now convert their quarterly/semi-annual/ annual rental payments into convenient, easy and manageable monthly repayment installments.

COMPANY OVERVIEW Al Hail ORIX Finance PSC is a joint venture between Al Hail Holdings LLC and ORIX Corporation Japan. Established since 2002, the Company is licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of UAE. With its head office in Dubai and branches in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, the Company provides financing for movable assets primarily to all sectors in the UAE including industrial, healthcare, construction, medical, logistics, marine, power & energy, food & beverage, oil & gas with particular emphasis on small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). For further information kindly visit us at

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ICSC JOHN T. RIORDAN SCHOOL for Retail Real Estate Professionals April 17-21, 2016 Shangri-La Hotel Dubai, UAE

SAVE THE DATE To register, contact the MECSC office at T: +971 4 359 7909 E:



The business guide for the Retail Industry Professional, with over 10,000 listings of Shopping Centres, Retailers & Service Providers


This in-demand directory includes MENA region wide retailers, fit out experts, HR firms, service providers, leasing and advisory groups, architects, and of course shopping centre information.

FAQ How do I advertise in the MECSC Directory? Advertising placement are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information, contact the MECSC team at What is the advantage of advertising in this new directory? Our multi-functional directory is the retail industry go-to source for information in the MENA region. This is an opportunity for your business to stand head and shoulders above the others.


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