Dubai Festival City Mall In Major Refurbishment Programme

The first phase of the redevelopment has been completed, and includes new stores and an upcoming leisured component.

Dubai Festival City Mall is undergoing a massive two-phase refurbishment programme, with the first phase already complete, according to a senior official.

Phase one of the redevelopment began nine months ago, confirmed Murray Bell, managing director – Retail and Leisure at Al Futtaim Group Real Estate, which operates the mall.

Dubbed ‘light and bright’, the first phase includes repainting, removal of certain kiosks and the addition of shopping space.

“We focused on a number of retailers including the Landmark group – which is opening three stores, H&M, opening in September and a leisure and entertainment experience spread across around 7,000sqm – we can’t communicate who that is as yet – which will come to the mall in three to four weeks,” said Bell.

The three Landmark stores – Centrepoint, Max and Emax, are spread across 100,000 square feet of retail space across two floors in the mall.

“The second phase of the refurbishment programme will focus on improving customer convenience based on listening to changing customer expectations, in terms of creating retail boxes that suit retailer demand, enhancing and increasing the F&B and leisure and entertainment options,” he said.

“Also we have the unique waterfront location, so we would like to use that to encourage more tourists and residents to visit.”

New stores will include local brands, new international retailers and existing retailers who are looking to expand.

“Dubai’s retail market is in a sweet spot at the moment in terms of market fundamentals with population and tourism growth and then with that, we are finding that a lot of retail groups are expanding across the board,” he said.

In terms of investment, Bell refused to disclose details stating: “We have spent a substantial amount on phase one and it will be an even more substantial amount in the next phase.”

Phase two is slated for completion in two years, he added.

Currently, Dubai Festival City Mall is showing “strong footfall and sales growth” as well as strong retailer demand, according to Bell. While the majority of visitors are residents, the number of tourists is also growing.

“With the macro tourism growth in Dubai and the extension of the Creek, we see a massive opportunity for us to increase even further the tourist footfall,” said Bell.

Dubai, recently named the world’s second most important retail hub by CBRE, saw 19 new retailers enter the market in 2013.

Shopping malls across the emirate including Mall of The Emirates, Burjuman, Deira City Centre, Ibn Battuta Mall and Dubai Mall are revamping operations and expanding space to keep pace with the rising demand.