The developer behind the huge shopping mall under construction in Qatar sees no risk to the $1bn project from the low oil price and expects to have signed up retailers for all the space by the end of the year.
Shem Krey, deputy managing director of the Mall of Qatar, said 85 per cent of the mall, due to cover the space of 50 soccer pitches, was already taken and he expected 100 per cent to be committed by the end of the year.
While Krey said the fall in the oil price had dented spending on luxury goods by Russian and Chinese tourists in Dubai, it was not affecting the Qatar project.
“We have not seen any slowdown in the retail community. For every space option, there are three alternatives,” Krey told a news conference at the World Retail Congress in Rome.
The mall, next to the stadium that is due to host the 2022 World Cup, is set to open next August, hosting 500 stores including a Carrefour hypermarket.
Krey said he was aiming for 5-7 per cent of the space for high-end luxury, 20 per cent for restaurants and other food and drink outlets, with the balance coming from mid-tier brands like Inditex’s Zara and Hennes & Mauritz.
Krey said he was not concerned about the impact of the scandal surrounding FIFA’s awarding of the World Cup to Qatar, noting that the tournament runs only for a short period and the mall was a long-term project that was part of the country’s massive investment in infrastructure.