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“Time to be bold” – Emaar’s Mohamed Alabbar tells UAE retailers

“Time to be bold” – Emaar’s Mohamed Alabbar tells UAE retailers

The chairman told retailers to fast track digital plans, customer experience, loyalty, efficiency and business diversification initiatives

Emaar chairman Mohamed Alabbar

Emaar chairman Mohamed Alabbar has told retailers in the UAE to “be bold” as the country gradually begins to ease the business restrictions that were in place as a result of the precautionary measures surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a virtual conference call with over nine retailers on Sunday, May 31,  Alabbar outlined the group’s outlook for the months ahead and steps taken to reassure confidence among their clients.

“From extensive testing to the early lockdown measures that have allowed us to gradually and safely ease restrictions, the UAE has shown wise leadership throughout this crisis that is being admired across the globe. So now is the time to be bold,” said Alabbar.

“Of course, we are all being cautious, but we must not be afraid to act now in this new environment. This is the time to fast track many initiatives, including our digital plans, customer experience, loyalty, efficiency and business diversification.”

Alabbar told retailers that with The Dubai Mall now re-opened, along with many of its entertainment activities, it was important that the company worked closely with its partners to navigate the months ahead, read a press statement from the company.

“We have been listening and learning from retailers, so we can continue to lead in the right way, as our partners. We will continue to do so, adapting our own business model so we can help overcome any obstacles and challenges that they still face.”

In April, as the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions were enforced, Emaar reportedly suspended projects at Dubai Creek Harbour, a development expected to offer residences to 200,000 people.

Read: Dubai’s Emaar stalls work on key projects – report

The suspension of work also extended to its Dubai Creek Harbour Tower.

On March 10, Emaar said that it would stop taking bookings at three of its hotels – Address Fountain Views, Vida Creek Harbour and Vida Emirates Hills – from March 15 to August 31 as the coronavirus situation hit demand at its properties.

Read also: Emaar to stop taking bookings at three Dubai hotels as Covid-19 hits demand

Alabbar also announced a decision to forfeit his salary and to implement a new salary structure effective April 1, in an email to his employees.

Read more: Dubai’s Emaar chairman takes 100% salary cut, assures employees ‘this too shall pass’

Emaar Entertainment operates major tourist attractions across Dubai including the Dubai Opera, Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, Reel Cinemas, Dubai Ice Rink, Kidzania, VR Park, Ekart Zabeel and Dig It.

On May 26, Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) held a virtual meeting with several entities, including Emaar Hospitality, to discuss the post-Covid-19 recovery strategy for the emirate’s tourism sector.

It came the day after Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and chairman of the Executive Council, announced a comprehensive plan to resume business activities from May 27 that included the reopening of cinemas, gyms and several entertainment establishments.

Read: Dubai to resume business activities from May 27, cinemas, gyms to reopen

The DTCM meeting focused on joint initiatives and responses that would be made as the city gradually resumes its activities including measures undertaken to prevent the spread of the virus.

Read: Dubai Tourism outlines steps for post-pandemic recovery plan

In February, Emaar Properties reported a 1 per cent increase in its full-year 2019 profits.

Net profit for the year ending December 31 rose to Dh6.2bn while other income rose 3 per cent to Dhs919m and selling and marketing, general and administration expenses fell by 7 per cent to Dhs4.4bn. Revenue, however, decreased 4 per cent to Dhs24.59bn.

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