Page 1

Barka Grand Center A Complete Lifestyle Destination Page 12

dalma mall Abu Dhabi’s Favorite Mall Page 20

Zero 6 New Lifestyle Experience in Sharjah Page 24


Circulated in 45 countries

Men AnD WoMen in RetAil

Alessandro Gaffuri Founder and CEO of CEls Group talks about the why of customer engagement in retail marketing







C E N T R E S ’


Jeddah eCONOMIC CITY MaLL Jeddah eCONOMIC CITY Jeddah economic City is a mixed use development – featuring Jeddah economic City Mall & Jeddah Tower, an iconic tower over 1,000-meter high centered in a 5.3 million sqm of urban development attracting a wide range of businesses and tourism. The Project is designed to be the new northern pole of the City of Jeddah that will anchor the growth of the city along it’s coast. It will be a vibrant destination for business, residence, tourism, leisure & entertainment, retail, schooling, medical, religion and government offices and services. Jeddah Tower is embraced by a Super Regional Mall - Jeddah Economic City Mall, offering indoor and outdoor retail, leisure and entertainment. The Mall features a variety of entertainment components including a major Snow Village, new to market Family Entertainment concepts, provision for a 22 screen Cinema Complex and a Water Body with an outdoor promenade animated with cutting edge entertainment technologies offering food & beverage, retail and entertainment all year long. The mall has an accessible Green Roof with stunning views towards the red sea and the 90,000 sqm animated water body for a unique outdoor experience in Jeddah. Tempered Sky Bridges are designed to connect the mall to the city in all directions making it one of the most green friendly cities. Personal Rapid Transport (PRT) system is integrated within the mall as an entertaining & commuting feature and easy access to the highest observatory deck in the world at an unprecedented height of 644m above MSL . IT’S HaPPEnInG …

CONteNtS 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

David Macadam Chief Executive Officer

Lea Venezuela Director

Khaye Comanda Associate Director

Mariz Matocdo Marketing Officer

Christian Baldonanza Membership/Database Accounting Executive

Justin Espiritu Publishing & Database Management Coordinator

JC Gayoma Membership Executive

Alessandro Gaffuri Founder and CEO of CELS Group, talks about Customer Engagement in Retail Marketing 05... Welcome Note 06... Contributors Insights... 08... Evolution of the Shopping Mall Industry 10... Shopping Centre Development Shopping Centre Update... Oman 14... Barka Grand Center – A Complete Lifestyle Destination Saudi Arabia 16... The Expansion of Travel and Tourism will Transform the Retail Landscape in Saudi Arabia

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

UAE 20... Dalma Mall – Abu Dhabi’s Favorite Mall 22... Zero 6 – A New Wave of Lifestyle Experiences to Sharjah Cover Story... 26... The Why of Customer Engagement in Retail Marketing. A talk with Alessandro Gaffuri, Founder & CEO at CELS Group

Chris Capstick Publisher

Guido Duken Senior Group Editor – Business & Connect

Ingrid Valles Projects Manager

Tarak Parekh Senior Art Director

Rouf Majid Senior Designer

Sunil Kumar General Manager - Production

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Features... 30... Interview with Doris Hazzan, Chalhoub Group 31... Sitting down with Marta Bural, Head of Retail Leasing, Meraas Development 32... My Journey from Africa to the Middle East…humble beginning of Lizelle Fitoussi, CMD, MBI Group 34... Why Middle East retail industry needs more female executives – an insight shared

by Stephanie-Alexandra Chartier, CMD Al Farwaniya Property Developments, LLC 36.. Men and Women. Attract & Retain the Best by Rahul Suri, Ritz Search 37... An Interview with the Leader in Retail Analytics - Vic Bageria, CEO/CVO Sàvant Data System (SDS) 38... The Retail Shift by Rayan Azab, The AZDEF Group News Brief... 40... Alyasra Fashion announce the launched of Sachochier at the Gate Mall Babyshop to Open 20 Outlets in 2017 The Outlet Village – Fashion without Fear Al Futtaim Group Set to Anchor a Mall in Jebel Ali Paris Gallery Announces Expansion Plan Doha Festival City Opens on April 5 In Focus…. 42... Majid Al Futtaim Opens the Doors of Mall of Egypt 44... Marina Home Interiors Opens First Saudi Flagship Store in Jeddah Board Member’s Corner 47... Retail Placemaking: Not just a place to shop, but a place to be by Andrew Williamson And all you need is “A few Good Women & Men…” by Avijit Yadav, CMD, CSM, CLS, CDP, CRX MECSC Members’ Segment 48... MECSC New Members On-Board 50... MECSC Featured Member – Avijit Yadav, CMD, CSM, CLS, CDP, CRX


WELCOME • • • •

ON tHe COVeR: Alessandro Gaffuri Founder & CEO CELS Group

Thank you to H.E. Majid Al Ghurair

MECSC Board Chairman Chairman of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, President of BurJuman Shopping Centre

Marwan Eskandarani

MECSC Board President Group Business Development Director – GCC Kamal Osman Jamjoom Group LLC

Andrew Williamson

National Director – Head of Retail MENA, JLL

Avijit Yadav, CMD, CSM, CLS, CDP, CRX Chief Operating Officer GLA Property Management Co. LLC

Dr. Khalid Aljasser

A new fresh look for the Retail People Magazine Updated format and size Global in look, feel and content Still the same great voice of the Retail industry in the MeNA region!!

Our team at the MECSC has worked hard to improve the Retail People Magazine. After three years it was time to renovate the look, feel and utility of our magazine. From the paper stock to the change in size and internal layout, our team is pleased with the result. We look forward to your thoughts, comments and feedback on the new look in hard copy. Digitally and in hard copy we will have more content. We have welcomed JC Gayoma to our MECSC team working with Ian Baldonanza in the Membership Department. In the future, you will be receiving phone calls and messages from both Ian and JC updating your membership status and building our relationships with each and every one of you. The Retail People Magazine includes the latest retail trends, concepts and intelligence from the region and beyond in each quarterly issue. Through working together we have a stake in the success of the retail industry locally, regionally and globally through sharing information. The Retail People Magazine and our readership benefit with every issue through the fabulous input from our members. Our MECSC team is always eagerly welcoming new authors to publish a wide variety of current topics relevant to our members. Men and Women in Retail is our theme for the April edition of The Retail People Magazine. Thank you to all our contributors this quarter featuring an article and cover story from Alessandro Gaffuri Founder & CEO of CELS Group. Alessandro speaks of ‘The Why of Customer Engagement in Retail Marketing’. The team also has received a great article from retail industry marketing luminary Pam Bryson, CMD on the Evolution of the Shopping Centre Industry. Claudia Tarazi who is the Managing Director & Co-Founder with Joseph Cremesty of Retail Consulting Group RCG from Beirut has written an article on Shopping Centre Development. Given that RCG is working on the largest shopping centre at the base of the tallest tower in the world in Jeddah, it makes for a great read. Jamal Al Shawish presents a compelling story on Zero 6 and the Alef Group with plans to energize Sharjah. We feature also the Women in Retail with Lizelle Fitoussi, CMD from MBI, Doris Hazzan from the Chalhoub Group, Marta Bural from Meraas, Stephanie-Alexandra Chartier, CMD from Reem Mall all who have penned terrific articles on women in retail. Vic Bageria, CEO/CVO of SDS has written a great piece on life. Barka Grand Center takes us to Oman. Arabian Centres shared the expansion of Travel and Tourism in KSA that will transform the retail landscape. Bhupinder Singh GM / CFO of Dalma Mall writes on Abu Dhabi’s Favorite Mall. The Retail Shift was written by Rayan Azab with a new view to social media influencers and social media in Shopping Centres. Our Board Members, Andrew Williamson and Avijit Yadav write about ‘A few good women and men in the retail business and Place Making in Shopping Centres’. Thank you again to all our contributors for their time, efforts and energies to deliver fabulous articles supporting The Retail People Magazine.

Chief Executive Officer Arabian Centres Real Estate Co.

Luca Cappuccitti

Head of Global Business Development & Strategy Design International

Maimunah Shebani

General Manager INMA Property Development LLC

Marcello Larizza, CSM, CRX

General Manager Line Investments & Property LLC

Mohammad Alawi

Chief Executive Officer Red Sea Markets Co.

DaviD MacaDaM Chief Executive Officer MECSC

Marwan EskanDarani MECSC Board President Group Business Development Director – GCC Kamal Osman Jamjoom Group LLC

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Pam Bryson, CMD Senior Marketing Consultant G+ International

Claudia Tarazi Managing Director & Co-Founder Retail Consulting Group (RCG)

Bhupinder Singh General Manager & Chief Financial Officer Dalma Mall

Jamal Al Shawish Director of Leasing & Sales Alef Group





Doris Hazzan Senior Division Manager Retail Property Development Division, Chalhoub Group

Marta Bural Head of Retail Leasing Meraas Holding

Lizelle Fitoussi, CMD Head of Marketing Asset Management & Retail MBI Group

Stephanie-Alexandra Chartier, CMD Marketing Director Al Farwaniya Property Developments LLC





Rahul Suri Managing Director Ritz Search Retail & Mall Recruitment Specialists

Vic Bageria Entrepreneur, Chief Executive Officer & Chief Visionary Officer SĂ vant Data System (SDS)

Rayan Fouad Azab Managing Director The Azdef Group LLC/AZAB Production Group FZE

Khurshid Vakil Co-Founder Marina Home



Andrew Williamson National Director Head of Retail MENA JLL MENA

Avijit Yadav, CMD, CSM, CDP, CLS, CRX Chief Operating Officer GLA Property Management Company

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Evolution of the Shopping Mall Industry


s the shopping mall industry dying? That was the main subject permeating every presentation, panel-discussion, conversation and thoughts at the largest Canadian shopping centre industry conference, held in Toronto last September. I was asked to speak at the conference and was tasked with providing some inspirational insight to fellow mall marketers and retailers. I have been a marketer in the shopping mall and retail industry for 20 years and have seen the industry survive many challenges, but nothing as disruptive as the advent of online, which has had a dramatic impact on traditional retailing and malls, especially over the last 10 years. Our business model was traditionally “bricks and mortar” with the obvious archetype – “landlord”. Our “product”, a collection of retail brands typically

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“anchored” by a department store, big box retailer or entertainment offer. We were essentially commercial real estate agents by definition – our job was basically to lease space to retail brands at optimum rents, enhance the property’s value and promote the brand holistically to the market and attract qualified footfall. Now the tides have shifted and I believe our industry, particularly those in more established, developed markets have been somewhat caught off-guard by several key disruptive forces: 1) Rise of consumer power (marketers no longer in full-control of “the message”) 2) Technology (online search, online shopping leading to a major change in the customer journey) 3) Rapid growth and expansion of global brands 4) Emergence of data analytics

5) Birth of a new, rather unpredictable consumer group – “millennials”. Yes, the business model for our industry is changing and we must adapt quickly. It seems to be a game of catch up, though, as retailers and malls desperately seek new ways to attract and retain customers. Some traction has been gained by brands willing to rethink the way they approach marketing and now more than ever, they are looking to embellish their programmes utilizing technology to support newer and innovative ways of engagement: a) Bricks and clicks Malls engaging in omnichannel marketing, providing seamless experiences through online and offline environments. Engaging in e-commerce through online sales of mall gift-cards, supporting our retailers’


e-tailing efforts and using technology such as i-beacons to push relevant, meaningful content to customers in-mall and across the entire customer journey. b) CrowdsourCing Working closer than ever with retailers and consumers to gather intel and engage in two-way dialogues about how to improve our malls. C) gamifiCation and loyalty programmes Developing advanced loyalty programmes, which have been greatly facilitated by digital technology and by using analytics to better understand consumers. d) Collaborative Consumption Offering space to “consumer and community groups” such as charity groups, schools, small business entrepreneurs as well as pop-up shops as a form of entertainment, CSR contribution, and expansion of the product offering. e) longtail (online) retailers Leasing physical space to online-only

engaging with consumers directly and encouraging their participation and interaction with the brand will allow consumers to develop a more personal relationship and deeper connection with the mall. businesses such as Amazon, which recently opened its first store in Seattle, Washington. Engaging with consumers directly and encouraging their participation and interaction with the brand will allow consumers to develop a more personal relationship and deeper connection with the mall and the shops within the mall. This is a fundamental shift from the traditional marketing approach of one-way communication and passive consumer participation. Consumers of today together with progressive companies can now work in tandem to grow and evolve the brand. Now more than ever, Marketing has become a real “team sport” open to those who are flexible and adaptable to ever-changing rules of engagement.

Pam Bryson, CMD Senior Marketing Consultant G+ International Pam Bryson is a dynamic marketing professional with over 20 years of specialized experience in the shopping mall, retail and entertainment industries across Canada, the Middle East and North Africa. She is a graduate of the University of Calgary, Canada and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree with a Major in Marketing, and recently completed her post graduate Digital Strategy Certification at the University of British Columbia, Canada. She is an ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centres) designated Certified Marketing Director (CMD), has over 25 ICSC Marketing awards credited to her name. She has held various positions on ICSC committees, is on the faculty as a teacher for the Professional School of Development for ICSC, and was an awards’ judge for the ICSC Marketing awards for over 15 years in Canada, USA, Asia, South Africa, the Middle East and Global Viva Awards. Pam currently lives in Dubai with her husband and twin boys, and works as a freelance consultant for a Toronto-based Marketing consultancy company “G+ International”.

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Shopping Center Development


he retail sector has evolved from a local retail environment to a highly competitive global retail industry, creating a need for differentiated and innovative solutions to cater for the requirements of brands and operators. Consumers are also becoming more demanding, as their shopping habits change and their purchasing power increases. Therefore, understanding the industry and its drivers has become of particular importance. A successful retail destination requires a well-articulated vision supported by a clear strategy and a sound business plan. The design should maintain the balance between ‘commercial and civic’ concerns whilst taking into consideration the socio and macro-economic environment.

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LandLords, Brands, and Customers A Shopping Center Development requires “design and technical” expertise coupled with ‘commercial’ skills. The success of a strategy for a retail destination depends on having both an understanding of the needs of customers, and established relationships with global brands with an understanding of their strategic objectives and requirements. For example, some international brands especially ‘Anchors’ and ‘Flagship’ stores - the main traffic generators in a mall - have pre-set design and technical requirements which need to be addressed early on. They include specific locations, adjacency with other brands, specific unit sizes, and ratios, as well as certain MEP provisions.

On-going assistance by a Shopping Center specialist such as RCG to the design consultant and the landlord ensures the project is executed and implemented as planned – in line with the set vision – and any changes to specifications, provisions, and mix are properly assessed ahead of time and the impact on the retail development quantified. The objective is also to ensure a smooth and cost-effective mall operation. This way the property will continue to increase in value year after year. Customer PreferenCes A customer would like to have a variety of a merchandise category to compare and choose from. This is typically achieved in large shopping centers with ‘area clustering’ or through the implementation of more


creative and out of the box merchandise mix strategies. The customer should be continuously entertained to extend his stay at the shopping center resulting in an increase in ‘impulsive shopping’. Design of public spaces Special care should be given to the public spaces; they should offer a comfortable and an inviting environment for a unique experience. This is where the quality of the finishes in the common areas, the natural light, the meeting points and piazzas, the mall amenities and the like should be carefully considered.

A successful retail destination requires a well-articulated vision supported by a clear strategy and a sound business plan. about Rcg Retail Consulting Group (RCG) offers retail consulting services focused on the comprehensive needs of retail businesses across the full range of the retail business cycle. Founded by experienced retail consultants – Claudia Tarazi and Joseph Cremesty – with a strong track record in the Middle East and Africa. RCG offers quality services with tailored solutions targeted at mixed use facilities. RCG offers a comprehensive and seamless service for clients in the retail sector. • RCG works closely with architects and design consultants, during the concept and design development stages on the retail design guidelines and implementation of a retail strategy. • RCG supports the project owner/ developer in identifying and attracting the major tenants and the brands best suited for the project and the target market positioning at an early stage of a project.

Claudia tarazi Managing Director & Co-Founder Retail Consulting Group Claudia Tarazi, an ‘ALBA’ graduate, is the Managing Director and Co-Founder of Retail Consulting Group a retail consulting firm specialized in shopping centers development. She has 18 years of design experience and extensive retail development experience in the Middle East and Africa. Claudia’s retail experience includes mixed-use projects with shopping centers, hospitality and office components.

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Meet the next generation of retail marketing



ALESSANDRO GAFFURI Founder & CEO of CELS Group Shopping centers as the “heart of a community”: this is what we believe in. We foster strong relationships based on emotions, for venues where culture, art, food, music, and entertainment provide experiences that truly engage customers. Our aim is to help manage retail hubs, where social bounds prove to be just as relevant as shopping-related interests. We support our clients in creating Preferred Meeting Places: centers for a community — their most valuable asset. | offices in TURIN, DUBAI, DOHA, KUWAIT CITY


Barka Grand Center A Complete Lifestyle Destination


l Tamman Real Estate, part of the diversified Muscat Overseas Group, recognized the gap in the market and a definite need for a mall in Barka. Being a relatively new entrant in the real estate market in Oman, the Company decided to differentiate it from the competition by launching the concept of a suburban mall in the Sultanate. They launched Barka Grand Center – Barka’s own mall, a comprehensive shopping and entertainment destination primarily catering to the requirements of over 400,000 strong population of Al Batinah South Region.

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It was a unique but risky proposition. However, the response from the visitors and tenants has been overwhelming since

its opening in May 2015. Hundreds of thousands of people have thronged the mall so far with footfalls going up quite


the number of tenants is growing constantly as more Omani and international brands are recognizing the increasing popularity of Barka Grand Center and showing a keen interest in becoming a part of the favourite suburban community mall which is serving the demand of people’s lifestyle.

steeply on the weekends and on special occasions like festivals, customized shows and promotions. Over 60 outlets including retail shops, food & beverage outlets, coffee shops and a money exchange apart from ATMs offer a wholesome experience to the visitors. Most notable tenants are Carrefour as the hypermarket; Centrepoint, Max and Emax as the anchor stores. The Fun City is a major

draw among the children and young visitors. The number of tenants is growing constantly as more Omani and international brands are recognizing the increasing popularity of Barka Grand Center and showing a keen interest in becoming a part of the favourite suburban community mall which is serving the demand of people’s lifestyle. The mall’s design is quite remarkable. The bouquet of stores is located on the

ground floor for an easy movement of the visitors. The interior design is quite stylish and appeals to those looking for a fusion of Omani aesthetics and contemporary look-and-feel. The mall located in a prime location on Muscat-Sohar highway is easily accessible. There are a convenient entry and exit to the mall through an exclusive flyover. With ample parking space, it offers a hassle-free experience to the shoppers and diners. To further enhance the entertainment, shopping and dining experience for the visitors, the mall is further expanding its facilities. “Currently, the mall has a builtup area of 26,576 sq.m. with a gross leasable area (GLA) of 18,979 sq.m. After the completion of the second phase of development, the total built-up area will increase to 41,820 sq. m. including GLA of 23,019 sq. m. In the second phase, the mall will add a movie theater complex with multiple screens (multiplex), the first not just in Barka but Al Batinah South region. Many new retail and F&B outlets will also be introduced in the new development. This will make Barka Grand Center a complete integrated lifestyle destination,” informed a company spokesperson.

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Nakheel Mall - Riyadh

The Expansion of Travel and Tourism will Transform the Retail Landscape in Saudi Arabia


ccording to the World Bank, Saudi Arabia has seen steady growth in international tourism over the last decade with approximately 18.2 million arrivals reported in 2014, much of which assumedly owing to religious tourism and pilgrimage. Under the Vision 2030 directive, the country aims to further boost the kingdom’s hospitality industry by more than half and attract 1.5 million tourists by 2020, with talks underway for numerous additions to Saudi’s cultural landscape and offering. Saudi Arabia is effectively the Middle East’s largest retail market. About one in

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every six people working in the Kingdom, more than 1.5 million workers, is already employed in the retail sector which drives the need for an expanded and more diverse tenant mix and leisure and entertainment offering. Tourism is expected to contribute up to 1.7 million jobs for Saudi youth by 2020, under the National Transformation programme, which underscores the potential for new developments in leisure and entertainment across the Kingdom. In essence, its three primary sources for tourism originate from domestic demand i.e. within the country’s 30m+ population,

demand from neighboring countries, and international demand from religious tourism and business travelers. This will bring massive opportunities for the retail and leisure sector in the Kingdom. Arabian Centres is already adapting to this opportunity. We believe this will see a shift to organised retail with inclusive lifestyle, leisure and entertainment offerings, supported by a strong pipeline of mall construction that spans both primary cities and smaller districts. To stay ahead of the curve mall developers and retailers will have to adapt their offering to cater to domestic and international demand in





lnal The Leading Developer and Operator of Internatio Standard Malls in Saudi Arabia

920 000 262


Mall of Dhahran – Eastern Province

keeping with Saudi’s vision to become a welcoming, accessible, family destination. The first step we take before allocating space to different retail categories is to assess the demands of the local population, ensuring the best and most diverse retail mix. The maximum space in our properties is generally allocated to fashion – from value to bridge brands, being conscious of tighter consumer spending and to suit all needs and budgets.

This year ACCL is also proud to be the lead sponsor for Hayya Jeddah 38, which we believe to be a big contributor to tourism figures, aiming to attract over 1 million tourists from the GCC this year, in addition to visitors from neighboring cities in the Kingdom. Riyadh, the kingdom’s most populous city, is projected to grow to over seven million by 2030 and Jeddah, the second biggest city, is set to grow to nearly five

Al Ahsa Mall – Eastern Province

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million. By comparison, this is bigger than the population of many well-established cities worldwide. With the young population being better educated, well-travelled, media and techsavvy, they are now open to embracing new brands, new consumption habits and new lifestyles – with an increasing appetite for leisure and entertainment facilities. The result is one of the world’s youngest and fastest-growing consumer bases. For multinationals seeking to position their brand regionally and gain scale, Arabian Centres is unique in its capacity to offer critical mass. The company is part of Fawaz Alhokair Group, one of the most respected businesses in Saudi Arabia, and the kingdom’s largest retailer. Arabian Centres currently operates 19 retail properties across 10 cities in the kingdom, representing about 10% of Saudi Arabia’s organised gross leasable area. To meet the expected demand from a growing population and burgeoning tourism sector, we are set to double our portfolio to nearly 2 million square meters in the next three years. This will be a transformative time for the retail landscape in Saudi Arabia.

Opening in 2018, Al Maryah Central showcases a cosmopolitan lifestyle that embodies the sophistication of a big city. Located at the heart of the capital, it features iconic retail, with the first Macy’s outside of the USA, Abu Dhabi’s first Bloomingdale’s, The Galleria and over 500 shopping and dining options.

To find out more about Abu Dhabi’s exciting new mixed-use retail development, visit:


Dalma Mall “Abu Dhabi’s Favorite Mall”


ituated in the heart of Abu Dhabi’s growth corridor opposite of Mohamed Bin Zayed City, and at an average annual footfall of 17 Million, Dalma Mall welcomes more than 45,000 visitors on a daily basis, turning into one of the busiest Retail and F&B platform in the capital of the UAE, with the quality of location and accessibility and of course convenience. Dalma Mall is a blend of super regional and convenient mall with a primary catchment of 600,000 people in the radius of 3 to 5 km. Dalma Mall is not just a mall, but it represents the heart and soul of the community where it resides, as it strives to serve its shoppers through filling the gap in offerings, market trends, and customer behavior. It is after all an

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interpretational platform presenting an engaging lifestyle filled with excitement and diversification, highlighting a profound level of insight into the shopper’s experience. From world-class department stores to fashion and footwear, in addition to sports and electronics, Dalma Mall is one of the most diversified shopping malls in Abu Dhabi and UAE, having a roster of tenants that are dedicated to the growth and success of the shopping centre. Through the loyalty of its retailers and their constant innovation, the mall serves as a vibrant neighborhood resource and shopping destination. Earlier this year, Dalma Mall won the 2016 Shaikh Khalifa Excellence Award, being the first shopping mall to ever win this prestigious recognition award, in

addition to the 2016 NOI Enhancement Excellence Award for its Operations and Overall Team Performance from the Middle East Council of Shopping Centres. One of the reasons for Dalma Mall’s success is that it has made a priority out of inviting local retailers, restaurants and business owners to set up stores at its premises. This means that there are certain products that consumers can only find in this mall, and they will not find them at any location elsewhere, offering uniqueness to the community’s shopping experience. Dalma Mall tenants demonstrate the accomplishment of the mall’s well-considered strategy to create a more compelling offer for shoppers. The centre’s management has taken a long-term view on development and concentrated on kick-starting the area


rather than focussing on short term rent, where Dalma Mall acts as a regional centre with its huge catchment area and has succeeded in attracting tenants that meet the high expectations of shoppers. For years, Dalma Mall had been a strong supporter of the local community

with its flagship CSR programmes, supporting charity events and community organisations, local schools and sporting activities. The centre walks the talk when it comes to being part of the community which they serve, highlighting the mall’s philosophy: “Cultivate a community, give to

that community, recognise its importance, and it will become your community of loyal customers and advocates”. Dalma Mall is steadily gaining recognition from the local community and visitors of Abu Dhabi. Prominently situated on the Abu Dhabi growth corridor, Dalma Mall is one of Abu Dhabi’s shopping and tourist destination providing a rich blend of retail and dining, including over 425 stores and more than 50 restaurants.

Bhupinder Singh General Manager and Chief Financial Officer Dalma Mall Backed with 25 years of extensive retail & shopping mall management experience, Bhupinder Singh brings a new functional edge to real estate mixed use, retail, entertainment, and hospitality. Served in some of the biggest retail names in the region, namely MAF Investments, Emaar Malls Group, Meraas Holding and Currently with The Developers Holding, in the capacity of General Manager and Chief Financial Officer at Dalma Mall, one the largest shopping malls in Abu Dhabi and other businesses.


visitors daily






people serviced in a 3 – 5 km radius APR-JUN 2017 . RetAil PeOPle .21


Alef Group: Bringing a new wave of lifestyle experiences to Sharjah


ith entertainment, dining and retail increasingly becoming different facets of the same experience, families, couples and youngsters across the UAE are now on the lookout for destinations where they can make the most of a diverse mix of activities under one roof that turn every trip into shareable memories. Whether celebrating a special occasion or spending a relaxing time out with near and dear ones – an enticing collection of such interactions is what drives people outside of their homes. Alef Group, a Sharjah-based pioneering developer of ‘Designed Lifestyle Experiences’, is tapping into these changing consumer trends to build community-centric projects that appeal to the new generation of sophisticated residents and help the emirate transform into a leisure destination of choice. To achieve this vision, the Group is collaborating with innovative trendsetters who are aligned with the company’s philosophy, and share its commitment to introducing new on-trend and in-demand brands and concepts to the emirate, keeping the needs of the local community in mind. “Introducing a new generation of lifestyle destinations to Sharjah lies at the heart of Alef Group’s mission. We are dedicated towards enriching people’s lives through contemporary design and worldclass leisure offerings, inspired by global trends and local needs. As the first in the emirate to offer a range of premium retail, F&B, and leisure activities in one lifestyle destination, with entertainment for the whole family, we believe that our efforts – driven by our Group’s dynamic and visionary leadership – will set new industry

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standards,” says Issa Ataya, Managing Director, Alef Group. Alef Group’s promise to deliver valueadded and memorable customer experiences form the genesis of Zero 6 – a unique lifestyle retail venue inspired by Sharjah’s telephone code. Once open in Q4 2017, Zero 6 will feature a sophisticated contemporary design offering world-class retail, dining and leisure experience that also includes the largest IMAX screen in the UAE, in addition to designated play areas for children and a fitness centre. Emphasizing on its strategic location, Jamal Shawish, Director of Leasing and Sales, Alef group says ”Zero 6 is situated within a 5-km radius of prominent landmarks and high-end residential areas in Sharjah further illustrating the company’s visionary outlook and seamlessly blending with pragmatic solutions – delighting both residents and investors alike. For the latter, the Group’s AED 4 billion worth of assets and a land bank of AED 1 billion both promise to keep investors’ interest sustained”. According to Ataya, Alef Group’s long-term strategy and vision for shopping transcend its financial acumen: “Our strength lies in the team’s commitment towards strengthening Sharjah’s leisure landscape with attractions that are carefully curated for the community, by the community and draw inspiration from the city’s rich history and cultural heritage. The executive team brings in years of specialized expertise in retail and residential development, and their fresh perspective on our upcoming projects will shine a light on the emirate as a destination where deep-rooted culture and heritage

interact with lifestyles experiences that are conceived and created to surpass the evolving expectations of both residents and tourists alike.”

JaMal al SHaWiSH Director of Leasing and Sales Alef Group Jamal Al Shawish is an expert in the field of shopping malls and real estate development in the GCC with more than 14 years of field experience. Jamal currently holds the position of Director of Leasing & Sales at Alef Group and managing over 1.8 million sq.ft of GLA/NSA.


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Please contact Francis Loughran at Future Food on +61 418 586 149 or +971 50 879 2331(UAE), to arrange a personal appointment or for more information go to



The Why of Customer Engagement in Retail Marketing A talk with Alessandro Gaffuri, Founder and CEO of CELS Group


owadays, the concept of shopping goes far beyond the plain action of buying goods. Understanding “why� plays a pivotal role in the future development of the retail market. This topic is the core business of Alessandro Gaffuri, Founder and CEO at CELS: an international group that operates in all GCC Countries with offices in Dubai, Doha, Kuwait City and Turin (Italy). I always loved to put myself on the line, by accepting new challenges. Living in Bahrain for three years, when I was young, made me understand that the Middle East was the perfect breeding ground for ideas where my unconventional way of thinking could have been appreciated. So, after years of experience in European shopping malls, I took the first chance to move to Dubai with my family and start a new business.

Qatar Tourism Authority (Doha): Human Claw Box and other activations for the Qatar Summer Festival

KATARA CULTURAL VILLAGE (Doha): 1,6 km long Qatari flag decorations along the streets of Katara

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CELS Group expresses a multidisciplinary approach through four independent business units that work in a consistent way. CELS – Customer Engagement Loyalty Solutions could be metaphorically considered as the brain that pinpoints goals, elaborates strategies and supervises the whole work. CELS Events is the operative unit that deals with event design and production, while CELS Digital supplies A to Z technological solutions with hardware, software, and contents. Last but not the least, AFKAR Lighting provides the visual impact, producing custom conceptual festive lighting and audio-video installations that help retail and leisure venues build a noticeable and positive identity. In my opinion, our main asset which our clients appreciate is that we have a solid first-hand knowledge of the retail market; since we come from their same world, they feel they are dealing with colleagues, rather than with service providers. Among the many ways digital revolution has changed our habits, we face the fact that people can now easily satisfy their whims online with a few clicks, getting what they fancy comfortably delivered at home the next day. However, despite this dramatic change in the customer behavior, customers still frequently visit the shopping malls. We believe that every shopping mall has to be unique; the expertise we built over the years has made us well acquainted with finding its specific vocation, while our curiosity and passion lead us to find innovative ways to enhance it. We achieve this success by conceiving pushingboundaries experiences to astonish customers. Our final goal is to stimulate a deep emotion, in order to trigger the

Customer engagement is essential to give shopping malls a soul and elevate them from the role of “wares containers” to the one of “preferred meeting venues”, where fashion, art, culture and music have the same impact of shopping.


DUBAI MALL (Dubai): a 3D dragon 17 meters long as the main attraction for Chinese New Year decorations

alessaNdRO GaffURi Founder & CEO at CELS Group

Aspire Park (Doha): 150 floating light flowers to celebrate Qatar National Day

reaction to crave for more – the desire to visit the mall again. We understand that a loyal customer is the perfect brand ambassador, the first fundamental brick a mall needs to build up a community. In other words, we could say that online shopping is able to satisfy the longing for buying products, while it still cannot fulfill a higher level of human needs – the pleasure of interacting. Since people feel they are part of something only when they

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are engaged, customer engagement must be considered as a brand value. Customer engagement is essential to give shopping malls a soul and elevate them from the role of “wares containers” to the one of “preferred meeting venues”, where fashion, art, culture and music have the same impact of shopping. Our everyday mission is to fuel this reason “why” e-commerce has not been able to overwhelm the physical retail market.

Alessandro Gaffuri is a retail strategy specialist with international experience across Europe and GCC. Working with shopping malls and leisure venues since 1997, his role is helping brands understand the needs of customers and interact more closely with them. Following global market trends, retail strategy today involves the study of each touch point with visitors, thanks to multidisciplinary methods and a full range of tools – from loyalty systems to live events, from in-mall media to festive lighting. After a career as Operation Director of Cinemas and Theme Parks and an extensive experience as Mall Manager, Gaffuri is now Founder & CEO at CELS Group.


Since our humble beginnings in 1980, L’azurde has become the world’s leading gold and jewellery manufacturer. Recognised for the ageless treasures we craft, L’azurde is a signature name at the highest level, both regionally and globally. Adored by celebrities like Elissa and Balqees Fathi, L’azurde designs are a mere reflection of the spirit every woman embodies. More than just a status symbol, we design elegant jewellery for every moment in a woman’s life.


Men and Women in Retail In Conversation with ... Doris Hazzan Senior Division Manager Retail Property Development Division Chalhoub Group Doris Hazzan is a member of MECSC and ICSC since November 2011. She is also one of the 15 scholarship recipients given by ICSC Foundation for the John T. Riordan Professional Education in 2015. Doris is also one of the RECon MENA Committee in 2016 held in Ritz Carlton, Dubai, UAE. She has 7 years of experience in the retail industry across the MENA region and holds the role of Senior Division Manager at Chalhoub Group. Doris is responsible for sourcing prospective locations for the group portfolio and making strategic recommendations for the most relevant retail market and/or project based on brand-driven expansion strategies in the Middle East.


ow long have you been in the Retail business? I have been working in the retail real estate industry across MENA for seven years. I began my career in retail research and development advisory, later acquiring leasing experience in the budget / mid-market segment and currently working with one of the region’s largest retailers, Chalhoub Group, in the capacity of Senior Division Manager – Retail Property Development Division to expand and enhance their extensive portfolio of brands. what excites you oR dRive you to be in this industRy? As the link between international brands and the local market, it excites me to represent the growth of retail in the region and to engage in more creative and strategic opportunities as the market becomes more competitive and mature. The constant evolution of retail trends has

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The shopping mall industry will be reshaped by the changing consumer trends driven largely by technology and accessibility of information. I believe that entertainment elements will be designed as interactive experiences, with more and more virtual reality content appearing across projects. F&B options will also evolve to enable customers to personalize their orders and experiment with dining and live cooking options. Retail will require customization and a John T. Riordan Global School Graduation May 28, 2015 focus on customer service as implications for all major stakeholders: the main differentiator between online and mall owners/operators, retailers, and the offline experience. International brands will consumer. This means that not a single day likely upgrade the local fit outs of the retail at work is the same and there are learning environment to build a showcase for the opportunities across all facets of the products that are offered online and may industry, whether that is real estate related, eventually require less physical shop space. operationally driven or market led. as one of the women in the Retail business, do you have something what oR who has been youR to shaRe with the ReadeRs to get gReatest influence in this moRe motivated in puRsuing theiR business and why? caReeR in this business? The latest figures estimate that retail activity accounts for nearly 30% of Dubai’s As the main consumers of retail, women have the ability to greatly influence the GDP. This trend is expected to continue industry landscape and I would strongly increasing, and the unique nature and encourage participation in all networking growth potential of this market has had a events available in order to connect huge influence on my business decision to with, understand, and learn from the key remain in the industry. Given their role as players in the market by building strong, key entertainment elements, the intensified transparent and honest relationships. competition among shopping centres will Additionally, it is important that we take continue to drive innovation and it is very advantage of all learning opportunities exciting to be part of this movement. available in this industry, whether it is internal workshops in our own companies with the advancement of or external development options organized technology, wheRe do you think by the ICSC and MECSC. the Retail business will go?


Sitting Down with ... There are more and more women in the retail management world and from my experience men often support female colleagues. I can only speak for myself, but I was blessed with charismatic male bosses, who were very supportive and encouraged women progression.

MARtA BURAl Head of Retail Leasing Meraas Holding Marta is a Shopping Centre and Retail Real Estate professional. Skilled at retail planning, leasing, marketing and leadership; excels at tenant relationship management and team leadership. With over 17 years of retail and marketing experience in the UAE.


ven though most of the consumers of retail are women, how come the retail management is still very male oriented? I strongly believe that genders should be balanced in retail, particularly when it comes to a project or retail concept planning, for example, planning of baby & mother rooms: no one will better understand a mothers’ requirement than a woman who is a mother. Retailing is very much services and time driven. Hence, why in my opinion online retail is so popular, as it’s easily accessible, can be done at home while we do other home related chores or even whilst on the move, gave the advances in handheld devices. The majority of women have to multitask and often juggle between work, home, children, husband and friends with very little time left to herself.

do you feel as a woman, you have to work harder to prove your worth at the workplace? Well, I don’t know if harder but, certainly, I have had to work very hard. I would prefer not to generalize, although I did have in my professional career encounter a few situations where it was challenging to persuade my ideas due to my gender. Nevertheless, I like challenges and I challenged men in the past and obtained positive outcomes and today many male industry colleagues seek my professional advice. are there enough female role models for you in the retail industry? I met some extraordinary ladies in retail. Particularly on the tenant side, owners and developers of some successful retail concepts (locally and internationally) in beauty, fashion and F&B. Women who are truly inspiring, strong, brave and creative who pursued their dreams and succeeded. I absolutely love meeting such a women and personally always encourage and support women industry colleagues. I have some brilliant female talents in my team and relish the challenge to share my experience watch them progress. what can you say about the current aspects of retail business in the mena region where women have improved? Today women are present and leading many aspects of retail, for example just look at the Emirates or Arab Woman Awards. There are women who are leaders in Fashion & Jewelry Design, Online Retail, Art and Media. What amazes me is that no matter what age or

nationality, this region has offered many female talents grow and accomplish their dreams. I strongly believe we will see more and more locally created by woman retail concepts. I believe we will see many of the brands expanding internationally and succeeding in Europe, Asia and the US. The Internet has proved that there are no distance barriers any more and impossible is a phrase of the past. Even traditional/ conservative fashion is becoming more and more international. I have recently met some young fashion designers from this region and many of their models appear to Western female customer taste and vice versa. for the past 17 years in retail and marketing, what lessons you have learned which you can share to those who are new or just starting a career in the retail business as a woman? I have worked for some major brands in FMCG industry as well as some greatest developers in the region. Every job is added to your experience and teaches you something that will be useful in future positions. For ladies going into leasing, my key advice is to be prepared to learn something new every day as retail is changing all the time as are consumer behaviors and of course, expectations are changing. There isn’t magic recipe for right or wrong retail mix or successful concept but that’s a beauty of retail, it’s very dynamic. For an entrepreneur who is planning to become a retailer – Plan properly and think what really interests you: fashion, beauty, health or food? Ensure financing is realistic and always keep the phrase “worst case scenario in mind”. Retail is detail so focus on every little part of this venture: design, merchandise mix, training, staff recruitment, decoration, prices, location, and targeted customer. Making successful retail concept takes time, dedication, passion, involvement in everything (including negotiations with the landlord, contractor selection, authorities, and suppliers).

APR-JUN 2017 . RetAil PeOPle .31


My Journey from Africa to the Middle East


y Journey from AfricA to the middle eAst

Baby Steps My love for retail and shopping malls started when I was still a student in South Africa. You feel blessed if you find a job, while you are still a student. If you are a girl and you find a job in a shopping center, you feel even more blessed with all the latest fashion around you. My first job experience in a mall was to fill Santa’s Bag with sweets, dry-clean his suit, count stock in the store room, and buy coffee for local and international artists. I loved it! The Rainbow Nation I still remember the days when I was a Marketing Assistant in Cape Town, writing, designing (using clip art), photocopying, stapling and personally hand-delivering the Retailer Newsletter. Thanks to my job, I developed great retailer contacts, but I also had regular blisters on my feet! Before a fashion show, I would spend the

32. Retail PeOPle . aPR-JUN 2017

night aligning the chairs. Before Christmas, I would spend three nights finalizing décor installation. Stage shows and exhibitions (bridal, décor, jewelry, home) were high on demand in the late nineties. How can I forget my bridal campaign when I had a bride, a groom and guests (all models) attending my ‘Four Wedding and No Funerals’ show? A few years later, I moved into a regional marketing role which saw me driving all over Cape Town, I “lived and breathed” marketing and when we hosted ‘’Disney and Friends’’ for the first time ever in South Africa, I realized how much I loved seeing how a successful campaign can increase footfall, sales, and positive PR. Welcome to the middle eAst My first experience in the Middle East was in Bahrain as a Mall Manager at a mall also home to the first Geant Hypermarket in the Middle East. French phrases in meetings and a welcome kiss on the cheek was no

more ‘French’ to me. Traditional ways of negotiating contracts were done differently than back home and ‘Mafi Mushkila’ became one of the first words I learned from retailers. my dubAi Marketer’s work never stops. I realized this when I was working with Majid Al Futtaim Properties as a Marketing Manager at Deira City Centre & Mall of the Emirates.

Currently, a marketer for shopping malls and retail brands i can say that digitalization is the way forward for a successful marketing approach considering that 45% of the population is below the age of 25 and internet penetration in Uae alone is as high as 91%.


Apart from running a hectic marketing calendar, we also had to manage all other ‘unplanned events’ such as celebrity visits, new paid parking rules, non-smoking awareness campaigns, 24-hour shopping promotions, 09.09.09 Metro launch and more. Digitalization and social media were also penetrating our lives at that time and soon we saw printed posters, magazines, newsletters and even gift vouchers all going digital. The ‘digital natives’ “StyleMOEments’ was the first digital campaign we launched at Mall of the Emirates in 2011. Tala Samman and Huda Kattan were our brand ambassadors, sharing fashion and beauty tips daily to promote and boost our Facebook page, and together we created an ICSC Gold Award marketing campaign. Things have changed. Traditional campaigns were not good enough anymore to succeed by themselves! Currently, a marketer for shopping malls and retail brands I can say that digitalization is the

way forward for a successful marketing approach considering that 45% of the population is below the age of 25 and internet penetration in UAE alone is as high as 91%. Generation Z is shaping the way for the future for all marketers be it brand or shopping mall marketing. They are indeed the largest target audience, thanks to their future purchasing power and the influence they hold over the spending of their parents and grandparents. They are financing more of their own brand decisions and experimenting with new products, and projected to account for 40% of all consumers by 2020. With social media and technology now embedded into our daily lives, we will have to remain competitive and develop a balanced approach to serving Baby Boomers, Generation X or Generation Z. Segmented and integrated campaigns will have to feature on the marketing calendars with social media and online advertising contributing at least 50% of all annual advertising budgets.

LizeLLe Fitoussi, CMD Head of Marketing Asset Management & Retail MBI Group Lizelle is a marketing expert, with an Honours degree who worked at leading shopping malls in South Africa before moving to the Middle East. She has won more than 20 international marketing awards during her tenure at MOE, DFC and DCC and has judged for ICSC MENA Awards over the years. As the Head of Marketing at MBI, she continues to apply her expertise and strategic direction to their retail brands, F & B, specialty leasing and shopping mall teams.


Why Middle East Retail Industry Needs More Female Executives?


alking into the vast majority of retail outlets these days – or indeed clicking on most retail websites – it becomes apparent just how heavily dominated the industry is by female customers. From the product range to displays, to advertising – the industry is clearly well aware of the fact that globally women account for up to 85% of all purchasing decisions*. They play an important role throughout the retail lifecycle – from selection to decision-making and buying – therefore influencing the retail space that’s constantly changing keeping pace with the consumer. Yet, despite this, less than three percent of retail companies globally have female CEOs**. Furthermore, women only hold a fifth of board seats at S&P 500 retail organizations. So, is the industry missing a trick? I say “yes”, and here are four reasons why. Firstly, women’s perspectives are in most cases the customers’ perspectives. The retail industry is always trying to

understand how to attract, engage and retain customers in today’s multichannel retailing landscape. And, if we look at the statistics quoted above, it only makes sense to match your executive workforce demographics to the business landscape.

Stephanie-Alexandra Chartier, CMD Marketing Director Al Farwaniya Property Developments, Llc With more than 17 years’ experience in real estate, Stephanie has spearheaded the development of unique marketing campaigns and strategies for mixeduse and shopping centre development projects across North America & the Middle East – she is currently the head of marketing for the up-and-coming Reem Mall in Abu Dhabi.

Stephanie Alexandra Chartier with Susan Mikloska and Lizelle Fitoussi

*Interpublic Group** Catalyst Advocacy Group

34. Retail PEOPLE . APR-JUN 2017

Secondly, gender diversity strengthens your business. Having more members of the target audience informing, influencing and guiding retail product development, business and marketing decisions can help companies outperform the competition. Retail leaders should explore what they’re doing to create an environment where women thrive and create policies that support women leaders. Thirdly, women’s strengths can often differ from men’s. It has been widely reported through studies and research that women build strong teams and pay attention to the implications of their own and others’ actions. Teaching women to be more assertive in asking for raises and promotions in the early stages of their careers can help them rise through the ranks. Fourthly, women need to accept their differences and leverage them as strengths. Ultimately women need to embrace the feminine qualities of their intuitive, compassionate, and emotional nature. Because these are assets, not vulnerabilities. By valuing these qualities in themselves, it will lead to greater change in the systems that often do not place the right value on the strengths that women can bring to the table. The bottom line is, that these principles do not only apply to retail industry – this is the case across the regional, and global, business landscape. All kinds of companies need to make a serious effort to get more women in leadership roles, and the Middle East should lead by example.


Dr. Kersten Rosenau, CEO of retail emotions

Westfield, London

Mall of the Emirates, Dubai

tel. +971 54 443 7408


Men and Women Attract & Retain the Best


n organization’s success is based on its people creating and sustaining a competitive advantage over its rivals. Efficiencies have always been attributed to having the right people working in your company and keeping turnover rate low in the long run. There are two aspects which every company must be prepared for: 1. Constantly evolving their teams by adding the right people, to bring in new and fresh ideas. 2. Keeping their employees challenged and engaged – so they don’t get poached. PeoPle want to belong to a brand, is that you? A very difficult metric to measure objectively but every top company has a secret recipe that makes them an employer of choice. Usually, it is centered on building a positive work culture which is marketed repeatedly until it is synonymous with the brand itself. Once you are ready, create a referral programme, the more a team brags about their workplace the more top talent shall be walking in the door. Interesting stat: 20% of quality hires

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are via referral, in comparison 1% come in via job boards. does your team believe their job imPaCts the ComPany and its Customers? Engagement comes from having your team continuously thinking about ways to make a difference in the organization. Ensure creativity is a part of every role, this impacts engagement and motivation, making employees feel connected to their jobs and leads to them relating work accomplishments as a personal achievement. Disengaged employees result in phantom costs in efficiency which has a direct effect on your results as a whole. Energizing your workforce leads to positive growth – management’s nirvana. Push PeoPle out of their Comfort zone! Challenging your team to fulfill their potential is easier said than done. There are natural tendencies to gravitate and settle within a responsibility you are good at carrying out. Lead by pushing your team into new positions where they can take a risk and utilize the potential you know they

RahUl SURi Managing Director RITZ SEARCH Retail & Mall Recruitment Rahul Suri, Founder RITZ Search, involved in services across recruitment, technology, mystery shopping, consulting and branding for clients across the GCC region. RITZ supports clients to address its functional challenges and gain competitive advantage through revised strategies, reconsidered business models, technology innovation, talent investment, growth, effectiveness and efficiency.

have within them. Remember to provide continuous feedback on performance, praising efforts equally as talents, this gives employees the ability to envisage their future with the company and set career goals. There are no guarantees that implementing an employer brand, engaging your team, building a community and challenging those around you to achieve beyond their potential, will actually lead you to attracting, filling and retaining the best people – but a quick look at the values of top organizations will show it’s clearly the most successful way to go.


An Interview with the Leader in Retail Analytics


ow was your journey like to get where you are? Being an Entrepreneur and the CEO of a company is like being the President of a small country. The journey has been a learning process with each step motivating and inspiring me to press on without fail by making choices that fall in line with the direction of my dreams for the future. what was the biggest challenge of starting a business? Convincing myself and my loved ones I’m not going crazy. Of course, it’s a terrifying experience – especially for my family seeing me give up an opportunity for a stable job for the uncertain. But it’s exhilarating and the most exciting thing I’ve ever done. I’m very hard on myself, but I’ve found that being my own toughest critic was a blessing in disguise, as it made me work harder to prove it to myself that I could do it. what advice do you have for future entrepreneurs? Read. People’s life experiences are always written down, edited, designed, printed and published. The Internet is great, but long-form reading in any subject is vital. Try subjects you’re not interested in also! You might learn something new, allowing you to flip what you think on its head and bring you to a new idea. That’s innovation. what are the benefits you feel with association with Mecsc offers your business? SDS partnership with MECSC goes over a decade. Association with MECSC has aligned us in getting SDS products and solutions recognized in unreachable regions of the market. Exhibiting through MECSC channels, sponsoring events and conducting joint networking events benefitted SDS in communicating with industry leaders and share ideas and grow in the region. Personal marketing and branding played

a key role in achieving our goals, but the association with MECSC, SDS has been able to raise that bar little higher. with the advanceMent of technology, how is it affecting retailers? how do you keep up-to-date with the latest trends or technology? The retail industry, being around for centuries, is in a state of explosive growth. Adaptation has been an essential aspect of a retailer’s business model, as trends of society evolve and consumer’s demands heighten and consistently shift. Retailers are highly dependent on information and if barriers are not met, the business will be doomed. This is where new innovative technology trends with the right IT and telecommunications infrastructure are making a difference, providing retailers a competitive advantage over competitors in terms of cost savings, productivity, inventory management and providing retailers with the tools to deliver unique shopping experiences for the consumers. As I noted for future entrepreneur’s, I am consistently educating myself on the trends which are taking place in the market. Whether they may be kickstart innovations, upgraded products, new releases – my ear is always in the market and in the press to better understand and assist me in forecasting the future of SDS. when it’s all over, how do you want to be reMeMbered? Well, a lot came to mind – some superficial,

some pretty deep. At the end of it all I want to be remembered not just as someone who is kind, compassionate, and a mentor; but someone who is a risk taker who takes out all the stops to reach his goals. Quote to live your life by? Happiness is the pure essence of fulfillment that derives from hard work.

ViC BAGeRiA Entrepreneur, Chief Executive Officer & Chief Visionary Officer Sàvant Data System (SDS) Vic Bageria is an Award-Winning entrepreneur and visionary, with experience in building recurring revenue technology businesses, who has mastered the intersection of technology, consumer marketing, customer behavior and in-store insights. Vic is the Founder and CEO of Sávant Data System LLC, a retail solutions and services provider focused on empowering businesses with progressive technology solutions such as People counting & In-Store Analytics to improve operational efficiency and profitability.

APR-JUN 2017 . RetAil PeOPle .37


The Retail Shift


he Retail world has been going through so many changes over the past years. I have seen Retail business been at the forefront of growth in creating jobs for both men and women in the retail world. This shift in the Middle East has spread to the remaining services related to malls and mall business in the region. Our company has seen a growth in women having an appetite for mall event business adding not only the taste to the mix but also diversifying our business to new sectors and opening our eyes to new concepts. I am proud to be a part of this growth with first-hand experience having my wife in my business. Our company has seen an amazing growth in Fashion Related events and concepts due to my wife. When we started our company we were focused on entertainment events only and then started to implement Fashion related events such as the fashion conferences “Simply Stylist” from the U.S. Mrs. Lisseth Azab our Global Director created the fashion conference that is founded by Sarah Boyd and supported by professional women to empower others in the Retail and Fashion world. Simply Stylist,

a Fashion and Beauty Conference, was founded in Los Angeles and has been a great resource for the fashion and beauty insiders. I find it extremely educational and impressive. It came as a surprise to me because I have over 12 years experience in events of all types and thought I had seen it all when it comes to events and the response the audience experiences. The shift in Retail has been the major Social Media influence in building consumer trust. The strength of Retail Related Individuals known as “Bloggers “and “Fashionistas” and their power in has over consumers buying, image and taste. This change has been positive and has empowered so many to be leaders in retail and making consumer opinions matter. Social Media Celebrities assist in Retail Brands Expansion plans, consumer outreach and what is “Trending” in the retail world. Brands have learned to use this to enhance their brand communication and no longer have the only ‘say so’ in the direction the brands are taking. Now the “New Face of Fashion” are the ones that can help determine if a brand will be well received. Bloggers and Fashionistas as Huda Kattan (a beauty online guru with over 17.5 million

in social media reach) have been the drive and elector on what is on “trend” or not. Huda has branched out to her own brand by understanding what a consumer wants and understating the hunger of shoppers in her world of beauty. She has now created brands that are worldwide known product due to her strength in social media. Many stores and brands have used influencers such as Huda to shift into this new space. Men and Women in Fashion can use their influence to their followers and the brand’s consumers to shift or guide the buyers into what is needed and wanted in purchases. I am proud to be a part of this shift and an advocate in the growth of Retail and Mall related services that are now becoming the way of life in the Middle East and around the globe.

RaYaN FOUaD aZaB Managing Director AZDEF Production Group LLC AZAB Production Group FZE Partner in Brands and Trade Services DMCC Rayan Fouad Mustafa Azab was born in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and has lived in United States for over 18 Years. As a young entrepreneur in America, Rayan established his first company when he we was 18 years old. His success in event management established his company as a leader in the production & entertainment industry worldwide. The experience as a business owner coupled with valuable business relationships in Saudi Arabia and The Gulf led Rayan to pursue international business ventures. He has recently returned to The Region to work closely with companies to attract international businesses and partners to expand in the GCC. Rayan Azab has a Masters of Business Administration from The University of Liverpool.

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Retail Leasing Opportunities Cityland Mall

Dubai, UAE – GLA 110,000m2

Amit Puri

General Manager - Leasing +971 (0) 55 635 0641

CityLife Al Tallah Mall Ajman, UAE – GLA 13,000m


Attallah Jaber Senior Leasing Executive +971 (0) 56 4039 950

Cleopatra Mall

Cairo, Egypt – GLA 115,200m2

Ehab Kamel General Manager - Leasing +20 109 171 9501

West Yas Plaza

Abu Dhabi, UAE – GLA 3,000m2

Sami Al Hakeem General Manager, Leasing +971 (0) 50 4496 396

The Pinnacle Building, Suite 401. Al Barsha- Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai P.O.Box 283850, Dubai UAE T: +971 (0) 4 392 8304 | F: +971 (0) 4 399 0421 | E: | W:

NEWS briEf

News Brief AlyAsrA FAshioN announce the launched of sachochier at The Gate Mall Alyasra Fashion, the region’s fashion retail leader, is proud to announce the launch of Sacochier, an exclusive fashion accessories retail boutique hosting premium designer brands. The multibrand concept store launched a flagship boutique at The Gate Mall, providing luxury goods for stylish women and men alike looking to lavishly accessorize their looks. Sacochier showcases leather goods and accessories, including handbags, wallets, sunglasses and perfumes, from prominent luxury international and local designer brands such as DKNY, Moni & J, VanDerWaals, Cavalli Class, Versace Jeans and Aigner, amongst others. Find out more: | Instagram: @Sacochier @alyasra | Facebook: @alyasrafashion | LinkedIn: Alyasra Fashion

BAByshoP to open 20 outlets in 2017 Dubai: Babyshop, a UAE-based retail brand under Landmark Group, said it is planning to open 20-22 stores in 2017 across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and Thailand. Vinod Talreja, Babyshop’s Chief Executive Officer, said the brand is also planning to launch operations in a new market, possibly within Africa where he sees new opportunities. He added that the brand is aiming to enter one new market each year, on top of strengthening its footprint in existing markets. In 2017, Babyshop is also planning to focus on e-commerce, having launched its online shopping platform in November 2016. Talreja said the website is witnessing month-on-month growth of around 75-100 per cent. Source: Gulf News – Business Sectors (

ThE oUTlET VillAGE – Fashion without Fear

Al-FUTTAiM GroUP set to anchor a mall in Jebel Ali

The Outlet Village is an indoor retail destination developed by Meraas that offers a value shopping experience in a distinctive and stunning environment. The architecture is inspired by the picturesque medieval Italian hill town of San Gimignano located in Tuscany. Bringing together a striking design inspired by a rich past with an innovative approach to construction, The Outlet Village harmonises architectural history with contemporary lifestyle and invites visitors to explore the contrast between old and new. Located adjacent to Dubai Parks and Resorts and within easy reach of Dubai and Abu Dhabi as well as Al Maktoum International Airport, The Outlet Village is set to emerge as an iconic and must-visit shopping destination for visitors and residents. It hosts over 100 iconic high end and street fashion brands at exceptional prices as well as dining outlets to suit all tastes.

Dubai: The Al-Futtaim Group is to build a mall with a 55,000 square metre leasable area in Jebel Ali district, as developers and retailers chase opportunities in the fast emerging southern side of the city. The mall – the name of which will be decided later – will form part of a wider 15 million square feet mixed-use project being built by Dubai Government owned wasl Properties. The mall is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2019. Its development and that of the Phase 1 residential area will go on simultaneously. Nearby landmarks include the distinctive Ibn Battuta Gate building. It will also be close to the Energy Metro Station.

PAris GAllEry announces expansion plan

DohA FEsTiVAl CiTy now setting its sights on April 5 opening

Abu Dhabi: The Paris Gallery Group of Companies has announced its five-year plan (2017-2021) aimed at strengthening its retail presence in the GCC and Middle East region. It plans to open 30 new stores for the Group’s various brands and subsidiaries taking the total number of Paris Gallery stores to 116 stores by 2021. To date, Paris Gallery’s existing stores number 86 branches across the UAE, KSA, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Iraq, Azerbaijan and other countries. The Group’s total workforce after implementing the new five-year regional expansion plan will reach a total of 5,100 employees. Source: Gulf News – Business Sectors (

40. Retail PeOPle . aPR-JUN 2017

Source: Gulf News – Business Sectors (

“Finishing touches” are being made to upcoming mega-mall Doha Festival City (DFC), which is now planning an April 5 launch. The QR6.5 billion mall, located off of Al Shamal Road next to IKEA, is expected to have around 400 stores. They include the world’s largest Monoprix, an 18-screen 4D VOX cinema and an Angry Birds theme park. Food offerings include Qatar’s first Five Guys, the country’s second Cheesecake Factory and the return of Dean & Deluca, which shut down in Villaggio Mall a few years ago. Source: Doha News (


Majid Al Futtaim Opens the Doors of Mall of Egypt • The opening sees Majid Al Futtaim ushering in a new era of retail and entertainment in Egypt • With $722 million in investments, the company’s first super-regional mall in Egypt introduces never-seen-before concepts to the local market


ajid Al Futtaim, the leading shopping mall, communities, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, Africa and Asia opens the doors of its eagerlyanticipated Mall of Egypt on Thursday, 2 March at 10:00am. With an investment of $722 million, the mall is expected to attract a great fanfare from crowds eager to be the first to experience Egypt’s latest shopping and entertainment hub. Majid Al Futtaim has positioned Mall of Egypt as its flagship project in the country and a pillar of the company’s EGP 23 billion

42. Retail PeOPle . aPR-JUN 2017

investment strategy in Egypt. Located in 6th of October City on Al Wahat Road along Cairo’s rapidly expanding Western Growth Corridor, Mall of Egypt is revolutionizing retail and entertainment in the country and across Middle East and North Africa. With the unveiling of Mall of Egypt, Majid Al Futtaim is bringing its worldrenowned leisure and entertainment brand portfolio that includes; Ski Egypt, that brings snow for the first time to the city and the African continent, VOX Cinemas - with a total of 21 theatres housing one

4DX screen, 4 Gold screens, one MAX screen, 2 screens for kids and 13 regular screens with a total of 2473 seats. These, coupled with the latest version of the family entertainment centre: Magic Planet, and Little Explorers – the children edutainment centres are main pillars in Majid Al Futtaim’s entertainment offerings housed by Mall of Egypt. “Majid Al Futtaim has a long standing presence in Egypt, which started 15 years ago with the introduction of Carrefour, City Centre Maadi and City Centre Alexandria. In-line with our vision of creating great


the mall’s eco-friendly design and innovative architectural concepts is an excellent example of Majid Al Futtaim’s leading sustainability model and the good progress the company is making towards fulfilling our vision of setting and meeting international best practice standards. moments for everyone everyday, today we are proud to open the doors of Mall of Egypt, bringing snow to the city through Ski Egypt as well as featuring an array of exclusive international brands and innovative leisure and entertainment concepts of VOX Cinemas, Magic Planet and Little Explorer introduced for the first time in the Egyptian market, said Ghaith Shocair, Chief Executive Officer – Shopping Malls, Majid Al Futtaim Properties. Mall of Egypt, Majid Al Futtaim’s second “Mall of” flagship shopping mall, will set the same precedent as its sister brand, Mall of the Emirates in the UAE bringing unmatched experiences to the visitors. Egypt is an important market for Majid Al Futtaim and launching mega projects like Mall of Egypt re-affirms our strong belief in the vast opportunities available in the Egyptian market.” continued Mr. Shocair. Mall of Egypt is expected to create more than 41,000 direct and indirect job opportunities since commencement of its construction. With a gross leasable area of 165,000 sqm and a total of 6,500 parking spaces, Mall of Egypt boasts remarkable offerings that make it Cairo’s go-to destination for unmatched experiences. Moreover, Majid Al Futtaim invested over EGP 300 million to develop the surrounding road network over an area of approximately 10 km, to provide safe entrances and exits to mall visitor and alleviate the traffic in the neighbourhood.

Mall of Egypt’s unique retails mix is not the only aspect that makes it stand-out in the market. The mall’s environmentally-friendly design and innovative architectural concepts is an excellent example of Majid Al Futtaim’s leading sustainability model and the good progress the company is making towards fulfilling our vision of setting and meeting international best practice standards. Mall of Egypt is working closely with the relevant local partners to develop, implement and maintain its sustainability strategy, which includes developing environmental data management system in order to effectively measure, monitor and enhance the efficiency achieved in managing energy, water and waste. The Mall has also considered a wide range of sustainability features to not only reduce our environmental impacts but also appeal to the sustainability sensibilities of a range of our stakeholders including tenants who want to operate from a sustainable mall

and customers who want to shop in one. The two-level Mall of Egypt, a sister brand to the world renowned Mall of the Emirates, features an inimitable selection of retail, dining and entertainment that have become synonymous with Majid Al Futtaim across the region. Majid Al Futtaim currently owns and operates 21 shopping malls across the Middle East and North Africa; each of them is strategically developed to meet the specific needs and requirements of its market. Designed, merchandised, and built to the highest international standards, the science of each mall’s retail mix planning is expertly configured to ensure both comfort and convenience, and is continually revitalized to stay current. The Majid Al Futtaim shopping mall portfolio has become world renowned for innovation within the shopping centre, retail, design and construction industries; creating great moments for everyone every day.

APR-JUN 2017 . RetAil PeOPle .43


Marina Home Interiors Opens First Saudi Flagship Store in Jeddah


arina Home Interiors, the premium home décor retail chain, has announced its foray in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with its first flagship showroom in Jeddah. The 2,200 square meters’ two-story showroom, has opened its doors to its standalone flagship on Malik Road, where visitors can discover a fusion of contemporary and vintage, modern and rustic, avant garde and exotic furniture. The showrooms’ signature interior design and experience was inspired by the Hamburg Warehouse district and New York Lofts; giving rise to a new

44. Retail PeOPle . aPR-JUN 2017

realm of design. Faced with a treasure trove of choices, customers are inspired to choose unusual combinations that reflect their individuality. Bandar Al Suleiman, CEO of Marina Home KSA, said; “We are excited to expand our footprint by launching our first Marina Home flagship store in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is a key market for this premium home brand. “Marina Homes’ brand legacy, originated in 1997, has since established its presence in key locations around the world and continues to evolve itself as a true global brand that represents a

distinctive balance of design philosophy and cultural harmony through its merchandise mix. We look forward to introducing the Marina Home brand across the Saudi market and inviting shoppers to experience a new way to decorate their homes.” He added. The Saudi Arabian furniture industry is highly untapped and has become one of the most vibrant and fastest growing in the GCC region. With the entry of numerous real estate developers and an increasing demand for residential property, the housing and furniture markets have witnessed tremendous growth over


the past years. Furthermore, the rising economy, government support and young trend-conscious population base also create a promising platform for the furniture industry to grow in the future. Set out to captivate the entire Kingdom, Marina Home plans to expand its presence across all the major cities in the coming years. Khurshid Vakil, Co-founder of Marina Home Group said; “it gives us great pleasure to announce the launch of Marina Home in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The presence of an iconic showroom on the prominent Malik Road – Jeddah is the first of many branches to come. The buying patterns of Saudi customers is a testament to the size and scale of the premium retail category in the country. Our brand positioning fits the industry offering very well and will present an experiential journey of discovery.

About Marina Home Interiors Marina Home Interiors is a Dubai-based premium home brand, with stores across the GCC, Egypt, Pakistan and India. Synonymous with quality and creativity, Marina Home stores are renowned for products creating an entrancing effect of unique harmony. Our products are inspired by the cultures we represent, designed, and sourced from around the world. Modern, vintage and contemporary designs are complemented by rustic details; true eclectic ambience seamlessly blending design with functionality. Marina Home brings fusion to home decor. KhURshid VAKil Co-Founder Marina Home Interiors Chain Marina Home Interiors, the avant-garde life style & home décor company is head quartered in Dubai and operates its large format stores across most Middle East markets, North Africa and India. Born in India and having lived and worked in Switzerland, Spain and Dubai, Khurshid Vakil understands cross cultural influences very well and can be vividly seen coexisting in his company’s corporate culture and in the design harmony of its product mix that the sprawling Marina Home showrooms feature. Khurshid remains at the fore front of Marina Home’s acquisition, expansion and brand building strategy and its vision to take the brand forward globally through company owned operations as well as its continued franchise roll out plan. A member of several international business forums Khurshid Vakil is regularly seen as a speaker at international business events and conventions.

APR-JUN 2017 . RetAil PeOPle .45


The Region’s Dedicated Forum for Retailers, Shopping Centre Owners & Service Providers Organised by the largest retail industry assOciatiOns

COnFeRenCe, exhibiTiOn & iCSC MenA AwARDS

29-31 OcT 2017 RiTz CaRlTon HoTel DiFC, Dubai, uae

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For further information: visit l To register contact or call +971 (0)4 359 7909

April/May: “Retail People” Magazine – Men & Women In Retail

February/March: “Retail People” Magazine – Fashion and Lifestyle

April: MECSC Directory for Shopping Centres, Retailers and Service Providers

March 7: NextGen Networking

April 16-20: JTR Global School for Retail Real Estate Professional Development, Ritz Carlton DIFC, Dubai

Abu Dhabi, UAE

March 15: NextGen Networking Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

April 18: NextGen Networking Dubai, UAE May 7-8: RECon Forum Jeddah,

MECSC CAlEndAr of Activities, Events, Publications

August/September: “Retail People” Magazine – Technology In Retail

September 12: NextGen Networking Kuwait, Kuwait September 19: NextGen Networking, Amman, Jordan September 26: NextGen Networking Muscat, Oman

Saudi Arabia

May 21-24: ICSC RECon Las Vegas

October 26: “Retail People” Magazine – Special RECon Edition

October 29: RECon MENA Pre-Conference Workshop and Cocktail Reception October 30 – October 31: RECon MENA Conference and Exhibition – Day 1 and Day 2 October 31: RECon Gala Dinner/Awards

Board MEMBEr’S cornEr

MECSC Board Member’s Corner

Retail Placemaking: Not just a place to shop, but a place to be Be Amazed, Be Surprised, Be Fun, Be Yourself. What drives a person to continue visiting a mall when they have many avenues to fill their time and fulfill their desire to shop in an omnichannel world? It is the personal experience each guest has with space not the place by itself. The retail environment continues to evolve at a faster pace each year, yet the fundamentals are still critical to the success of the mall. Visibility, parking, egress/ ingress, amenities etc… To ensure ongoing success, a deeper exploration is required that touches all senses to create a place that resonates with each individual on a permanent level. For an existing underperforming asset, the goal is to diagnose and treat the symptoms to ensure added-value and protection from financial and functional irrelevance. Over the years, places can lose their sense of identity and a tenant/activity review is required to curate the mix to match the expected catchment demand. A Placemaking Strategy that creates an environment that captures all the crucial elements that allow it to connect with the customer and provide them with exciting

reasons to keep visiting is required. JLL has narrowed the Placemaking Strategy to 8 simple elements: • The scale and quality of offer that match the shopper characteristics and spend available? • How well-located and connected is a retail place, in terms of linking supply/demand? • Is the built environment innovative and architecturally inspiring, and is flexibility embedded within the space? • Does a retail place have the diversity of mix and service to satisfy the needs of the modern ‘visitor’? • Are marketing strategies integrated from a physical and virtual perspective, in order to embed a retail place at the heart of the community? • Is a retail place open to the future, to new technologies, to change and to continual reinvention? • Does a retail place act responsibly not only to the environment but also to all of its stakeholders, including staff, retailers and, crucially, the local community? • Does a retail place have a strong cultural or historical ‘offer’ in its own right, or

does it successfully link to the local culture, heritage and history of its location? With the Placemaking Strategy thoroughly implemented, owners and tenants will be able to work together to ensure sustained success now and into the foreseeable future. Being extraordinary is the new normal!

ANdRew williAmsON National Director - Head of Retail MENA JLL MENA Andrew is Head of Retail, Jones Lang LaSalle MENA Region, and has been involved in numerous retail development advisory, design and leasing assignments. Projects include Faisaliah, Palm Mall in Oman and Deerfields in Abu Dhabi and total in excess of $4 billion. Andrew is a Board Member of the Middle East Council of Shopping Centres (MECSC).

And all you need is “A few Good Women & Men…” In the movie “A Few Good Men” Tom Cruise (Lt. Daniel Kaffee) was hardly motivated to do anything till Demi Moore (Lt. Cdr. JoAnne Galloway) through determined and constant nudging inspired him to act. And once inspired Tom Cruise does some serious investigating and law work to make justice prevail. He takes huge risks by putting Jack Nicholson (Col. Nathan Jessup) a powerful army colonel on the stand, cross-questions him brilliantly and gets him indicted. Nothing would have happened if Daniel Kaffee had not been inspired. All you need is a few good women and men who are motivated and inspired to achieve pretty much anything. In the retail real estate business, the buzz words are ricocheting off the world

wide web, at conferences and networking events; Omnichannel, customer centric, online-offline, bricks and mortar, consumer experience aided by technology and on and on. Not much will happen unless the women and men in our business are inspired to dream, to take risks and to aim high. Shouldn’t “inspiration” become a buzz word in our business? I would consider Lt Cdr. JoAnne Galloway (Demi Moore) as the hero rather than Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise). She managed to inspire him, show him purpose and create conditions for success. She exhibited leadership. In my experience at shopping centers across India, Canada, Dubai and Kuwait, I found wherever a few women and men practiced leadership that inspired their fellow workers, much

Avijit Yadav CMD, CSM, CDP, CLS, CRX

Chief Operating Officer GLA Property Management Company

was achieved; for the company (business goals) and for the employees (personal achievement, development, and self-worth). Leadership is not easy. It needs to be practiced. And when practiced right even by only a few good women and men, it makes a huge difference.

APR-JUN 2017 . RetAil PeOPle .47


LOOK WHO’S JOINED MECSC!!! (from December 2016 to February 2017)


 Malik Qaiser Awan  Rajapandian Varada Pillai  Raid Ismail Maddah  Fahad Abdulrahman Rafeea  Hani Nasr  Edward Joshua  Sh. Mohamed Duaij Al-Khalifa Saudi Arabia  Donald Bradley  Turki Al-Resayes Canada  Muataz Al Attas  Scott Forbes  Ayman Gaber  Walter Kleinschmit, CRx, CSM, ClS  Fahad Al-Othaim  Aiman Al-Mudaifer Egypt  Marwan Obead  Mohamed Bakir  luc lescault  Omar Rawhey  Ahmed Yassin  Sherif Rawhey  Omar Hazem  Khalid Ali Balubaid  Ehab Mahmoud Kamel  Adam Uthman  Haytham El Dessouky  Khalid A. Al Sehaibany  Heshmat Darwish  Majed Alkahtani  Mazen Hamza Qandeel Germany  Maaz Khawaji  Dr. Kersten Rosenau  Mohammad I.B.Alawi



 Tanu Prasad

 Geoffrey Morrison

Jordan  Salma Shasha’a,  Imad Bukhari


Kuwait  Mohamed lotfy,  Nadia Akil


Lebanon  Charbel Salameh  Maha Arzouni  Simon El Khoury  Joseph Cremesty  Karl Nader

Oman  Aruna Tavarkhed  Ben Watson  Prabhjot Singh Bhogal  Poduvayil Anil Kumar

Poland  lukasz Spirala

Qatar  Emad Salloum  Joerg Harengerd

48. Retail PeOPle . aPR-JUN 2017

United Arab Emirates  Ankur Kochhar, CSM  Myra Searle  Stuart Ingram  Prakash Vivekanand  Nilesh Ved  Monica Tomar  Matthew Green  Stuart Gissing  Niruban Chakaravarthi  Jens Hattab  Amit Dhamani  Nabil Alkindi  Naaman Atallah  Ishwar Chugani  Charles Martinez  Avinash Bal  Mohamad Al-Habech  Amy Stafford  Priyanka lakhani  Anna Watson

 Tony Samaan  Chandresh Gandhi  Jayant Ganwani  Nishath Abbas  Sandeep Saligram  Colin Beaton  Marcello larizza, CSM, CRx  Alain Bejjani  Fareed Abdelrahman  leena Hamad  Ma. Socorro Cruz  Muhammad Atif Altaf  Nada Abou Saab  Radhakrishnaiah Komari  Younis Hassan Al Mulla  Pascal Reaidy  Jaehong lee  Amit Puri  Furqan Athar  Matthew Stych  Megan Whitehorn  Nebojsa Zaric  Phil McArthur, CRx, CSM, CDP  Sami Al Hakeem  Sylvie Saddik  Tomas Dvoracek  Mohammed Sorour  leanne Hamilton

 Kareem Attiyat  Nicolas Standaert  Partho Bhattacharya  Rachel Walton  Narayanan D.l.  Claude Soueidane  Irina Cooper  Marissa Catalan Mercado  Amjad Hijazi  Maryse Armange  Bhavin Shah  Nadine Dabbous  Inderjeet Singh Bubber  Bhupinder Singh  Hamad Al Darwish  Mohammed Al Mazrouei  Abhilah Puthan Veetil  Aditya Shah

United Kingdom  Julian long, MRICS  lale Day

United States  Alexander Goldfarb  Jac Crawford  Debra Hazel  Shah Karim

JOiN MeCSC NOw!!! • When you want to raise your personal profile, locally, regionally and globally • When you want others to assist you to facilitate your business • When you want to rub shoulders with others who have succeeded in the retail industry • When you want to build meaningful relationships to further your business career

theN JOiN the MeCSC Connect with us at: You will always be delighted when you see your career takes off


Retail People Magazine – Testimonials

As one of the article contributors to Retail People Magazine, the main thing I can say is that at every retail event I have attended locally or regionally, people seem to know who I am because they have either read an article of mine or have seen a photo of me in the magazine. I cannot think of a more effective way to give me the exposure in my career that I need to build the right relationships and facilitate business.”

For the past few years retail industry in the Middle East has transformed and Middle East Council of Shopping Centres has helped us a lot to keep up to date with everything new. When I joined MECSC, I didn’t know many people and as well was not aware with latest updates of the retail market. The magazine helped me in understanding new trends, keep update with new projects in the market. I owe MECSC a lot of our success of where we are and helping us and I hope it can help others like me.”

Maimunah Shebani General Manager - Special Projects INMA Property Development LLC Board Member – MECSC Oman

Retailers and shopping centers are a nexus of transaction and transformation for the Middle East region and RPM’s audience includes top management in these sectors. The magazine provides a unique channel for bringing new ideas to the professional community, which makes it most attractive to contribute to RPM and join MECSC. Besides the excellent reach and quality of the magazine, the RPM staff is highly professional and easy to work with, and this makes it a pleasure to participate!”

MECSC’s Retail People Magazine is providing global knowledge and exposure to both its readers and contributors. As a contributor, the magazine pushes me to always be on top of the topics covered & be on a constant quest for knowing and achieving more to share with the reader’s substantial experience, expertise, and content. That in turn elevates my knowledge, skills and profile, and also boosts my exposure within a bigger network of professionals; all funneling towards enhanced career opportunities and progress.”

Kamel Shaban Brands International UAE

Shah Karim CEO SafeRock USA

Samar Akkou, CSM, CLS Leasing Manager – Citymal s.a.l. Lebanon Regional Representative – MECSC Lebanon

Mall talk/Al Maryah Central is the next generation mall Page 21

Focus/ Talking about revolutionising men’s fashion Page 15

Projects/Al Nassma Chocolate conquers the world of confectionery Page 30



C I R C U LA T E D I N 4 5 C O U N T R I E S


The Customer & Innovation



MENyour AND Raise profile in our quarterly magazine WoMEN IN REtAIl

Special RECon MENA edition EVENTS







Retail People_issue9.indd 1

10/25/16 1:21 PM



The Middle East Council of Shopping Centres (MECSC) is a not-for-profit, retail-industry association with nearly a thousand members across 17 countries in the Middle East & North Africa.

why of customer engagement TheThe magazine is distributed to its members through mailings, MECSC-hosted events and other partnerships. The e-magazine in retail marketing. A talkwebsite with is available on the MECSC and will also be promoted via the MECSC’s 10,000+ database and 4,000+ social media Alessandro Gaffuri, CEO at followers. CELS Group

The official magazine of the Middle East Council of Shopping Centres

Talks About Revolutionizing Men's Fashion

Al Maryah Central Next Generation Mall in the Heart of Abu Dhabi

Fashion and Lifestyle

Are you provider looking to market a product or your services?

ContaCt MECSC today

Upcoming Editorial Calendar 2017




Fashion and Lifestyle

Men and Women in Retail

Technology in Retail

Special RECon MENA Edition


of Brands International

Al Nassma Chocolate

Are you a Retailer interested to enter the market or expand your operations?


Mr. Kamel Shaban

Conquering the World of Confectionery

Are you a Shopping Centre looking to lease space?







Mariz Matocdo, Marketing Officer e: | t: +971 4 359 7909, +971 55 551 7605 w:

MECSC Database











Featured MeMBer

One-on-One With ... Avijit YAdAv, CMd, CSM, CLS, CdP, CRX Chief Operating Officer GLA Property Management Company


hat is your job profile? tell us a bit what inspires you in your work. I am responsible for ensuring that the Operations of Tamdeen Group malls in Kuwait results in exceptional experiences for our customers. To achieve this, I work closely with a very committed and passionate team with a strong sense of purpose. We have over 200 such people across 24 nationalities. I draw inspiration from the achievements of our team. Its fulfilling to see our people learn, grow, excel and achieve their aspirations and success for the company. We have secretaries who have grown to become General Managers, security guards who have grown to become Managers, Admin Assts. who have become Property Administrators and so on. Seeing people on our team succeed is inspiring. how long have you been in the Mena region? what is your advice on finding success in the retail sector? I have been in the MENA region for approx. 18 years. Finding success; If you are young and new to the industry, don’t bring your ego to work, work hard, learn from people around you, listen, gain all the experience you can get, teach and help others and you will surely succeed. And if you have been around for some time in the Industry, do the same thing and you will surely succeed. you have joined Mecsc since 25 deceMber 2002 and last year you have been elected as one of the Mecsc board MeMbers,

50. Retail PeOPle . aPR-JUN 2017

how would you describe your experience with Mecsc? The MECSC gives me a sense of professional belonging, a fraternity. Over time I learned one can contribute and help the fraternity. So, I volunteered, got onto the CMD committee, joined the board twice, taught at the JTR School and in Russia, Judged the ICSC Global VIVA and South African Awards. And guess what? I learned a lot from the experiences and the terrific people I met along the way. what is soMething Most people don’t know about you?

I am a scrapper. Adversity and scraping by early in life helped me develop character. Starting at US$ 15 per month, I have been a traveling salesman, worked in advertising growing from trainee to GM in 9 years. Moved into shopping centers by chance. Was the 13th person to get all ICSC designations. And my life improved by approx. 100% when I got married to my wife 26 years ago. what is your personal life philosophy? You’ve got to be driven and committed! But don’t forget to be kind and generous!!

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Retail People Magazine – Issue 11  
Retail People Magazine – Issue 11