Dubai’s retail sector stabilising after high growth – Majid Al Futtaim

Michael Cesarz said that the company will continue to expand in Dubai while pursuing opportunities in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah

Dubai’s retail sector is stabilising after enjoying a period of high growth over the last few years, accord- ing to Majid Al Futtaim’s shopping malls business unit chief executive.

Speaking to Gulf Business during the opening of Majid Al Futtaim’s latest mall City Centre Me’aisem, Michael Cesarz asserted that retail growth remained healthy.

“I come from a part of the world where if someone said we have a growth of 7 per cent (in retail), they will say it is crazy,” he said.

“Here we are now back to normal in terms of numbers. So if you have overdone your business before, you are in trouble. Yes those kinds of numbers were nice to have over the years but right now we are on safe ground.”

Majid Al Futtaim, which operates 17 shopping malls in the Middle East and North Africa, is expecting to see overall growth of 7 per cent this year, Cesarz added.

He would not be drawn to provide a forecast for the shopping malls unit but said that the company is con- tinuing to invest in expanding business in the region.

“It (the growth) is not double digit anymore but we are still growing our business. We are not done with having more malls in Dubai but you have to be on stable ground. If you are too big, then you are exposed to risk. You try to find the right size for the malls and this is why we have different sizes of malls within our portfolio.”

Majid Al Futtaim, which recently completed a Dhs 1bn expansion within its flagship Mall of the Emirates, has also stepped up its investment in Egypt while remaining on the lookout for more opportunities in Saudi Arabia.

Cesarz said that the company will continue to expand in Dubai but he also identified opportunities in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.