Abu Dhabi and Dubai have ranked among the top 17 cities globally for shopping centre development.
The two cities have a total of 626,887 square metres of retail space under construction, or 265,760 square metres and 361,127 square metres respectively, according to consultancy CBRE.
In a separate list, Muscat and Dubai ranked 25th and 29th for shopping centres delivered last year, with 101,000 and 76,721 square metres respectively, in a list led by Chinese cities Wuhan, Dalian and Changqing.
CBRE said Middle Eastern retail markets remained an attractive proposition for international brands, particularly Dubai which has ranked second for international brand presence globally in 2014.
“We know that consumers across the Middle East like to spend their money on retail, food and beverage (F&B) and leisure activities particularly within the mall environment,” said CBRE Middle East head of research and consulting Mat Green.
“The ongoing investment across the region is therefore catering to these needs and with retailers from across Europe and the US continuing to look for alternatives to drive future expansion, the region offers a wide range of opportunities for consumers.”
Among the properties in the pipeline in the region are Nakheel’s Palm Mall in Dubai, comprising 111,000 square metres of gross leasable area and expected to be completed in 2018. In Abu Dhabi, the largest development on the horizon is, Al Maryah Central with 146,000 square metres of gross leasable area.
CBRE said Doha was also an up and coming retail destination and could see 1.2 million square metres of gross leasable area delivered over the next three years alone.
This will include the country’s largest mall, the 264,000 sqm Doha Festival City set to open this year. It will include 550 retail shops, 100 food and beverage outlets and Qatar’s first snow park.
On a global level, China dominated the list for construction globally with two thirds of projects.
“Cities such as Chongquing, Shenzen, Chengdu and Shanghai all have over 3 million sqm of space under construction in over 30 projects in each city,” said CBRE.