UAE-based Landmark Group is mulling the inclusion of cinemas in its community mall Oasis Centre, as it eyes major expansion for the concept across the GCC, the mall’s director has said.
“Oasis Centre will largely remain a neighbourhood mall,” Neelesh Bhatnagar, director of Oasis Centre, told Gulf Business. “We do have a reasonable amount of children’s entertainment, but the only thing missing is cinemas. We will see [in the future]… if the building or the area we inherit for an Oasis Centre permits us to bring cinemas, we may consider it,” he said.
The community mall concept is more focussed on shoppers and hence additional space, especially for parking, is one of the major constraints for cinema halls.
“Unless you have a large car parking space, it doesn’t make sense to bring cinemas – otherwise most of the shoppers will not have space to park their vehicles.
“Those are the minor things we need to look at,” said Bhatnagar.
Launched five years ago in Dubai, the mall, which mainly includes Landmark’s retail outlets such as Emax and Lifestyle, saw footfall rise 11 per cent in 2013.
Although it faces stiff competition from bigger players such as Mall of the Emirates and Dubai Mall, Bhatnagar says the offering and expectation is different. Most the mall’s current visitors are dedicated shoppers, with Oasis Centre recording an 80 per cent conversion rate.
“We are quite satisfied with limited footfall – that’s better than having a high football rate with just 10 to 12 per cent conversion,” he explained.
The group is now planning further expansion of the concept across the GCC over the next few years, with plans to have at least 10 malls operational by the end of 2015, confirmed Bhatnagar.
There are already three to four malls under construction in Saudi Arabia, while one in Sharjah and another in Oman are also expected to come up soon.
The company will primarily focus on ‘B’ and ‘C’- tier cities in the region, he said.
“In the next five years, our business plan is to boost the presence of Oasis Centre in Saudi Arabia. Landmark already operates in 45 cities across the Kingdom, whereas the mall culture currently exists only in the six big cities. So we have scope for lots of new centres.”