Dubai is the second most important international retail destination globally, following only London, with majority of the global brands establishing a presence in the UAE city.
That’s according to the annual report by property consultancy CBRE, which also found that the emirate ranks fourth amongst the world’s hottest retail markets, welcoming 25 new retailers in 2012.
Growth in tourism, economic recovery and significant capital flow are driving Dubai’s retail push, according to Hisham Abdullah Al Shirawi, vice chairman at Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
As the emirate continues to draw more big brands – Abercrombie & Fitch will launch its Middle East first store in Dubai next year and fashion lines George, Crazy 8 and Calzedonia are making their debut in Dubai this year – we look at some of the popular global retailers that the emirate welcomed in 2012.
The top 10 are arranged in no particular order.
The Cheesecake Factory
The American restaurant chain made its debut in Dubai Mall last year, and following the store’s success, the Alshaya group, its regional partner, launched the world’s largest Cheesecake Factory restaurant, with 526 seats, in Mall of the Emirates this year.
IHOP (International House of Pancakes)
Also brought to Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates by the Alshaya group last year, the popular American pancake chain is planning to expand its footprint across the Middle East in the next three years.
The top-end fashion brand already had a Dubai presence as a store in store in Saks Fifth Avenue. But to cater to Dubai’s glamorous fashionistas, Prada opened its posh doors to its first flagship stand-alone boutique – designed by Roberto Baciocchi – in Mall of the Emirates last year.
Kate Spade New York
Selling a range of products including handbags, clothing, jewellery, shoes and stationery, US-based Kate Spade New York opened its first UAE store in Dubai Mall last year. The brand, boasting over 100 international shops, is being distributed in the Middle East by the Jashanmal group.
The UK-based youth fashion brand launched its first international own-stores in Dubai last year, opening one outlet in Mall of the Emirates and one in Mirdif City Centre. In partnership with the Landmark Group, the brand aims to expand across the GCC.
Franklin & Marshall
American- Italian fashion label Franklin & Marshall, in partnership with Kuwait-based Multi Trend International, opened its first UAE store in Mirdif City Centre and followed it up with another store in Dubai Mall last year. Sports celebrity Fabio Cannavaro and Italian artist Serafino Rudari were among the guests at the opening of the second store.
German fashion designer Philipp Plein descended in Dubai for the launch of the brand’s first boutique in Dubai Mall last year. The store, which boasts a diamond-covered façade, features men’s and women’s collections.
The Italian fashion brand, which manufactures apparel, shoes and accessories for men and women, opened its the first shop at Dubai Marina Mall last year. Launched in partnership with H2 Fashion, the polo heritage brand aims to open six more stores in the Gulf before end of 2014.
UK fashion retailer M&Co has made its first international foray by opening a store at the Dubai Mall. Distributed in the Middle East by Liwa Trading Enterprises, M&Co offers clothing for women, men and kids.
Liwa Trading also introduced Spanish kids fashion brand Gocco to the UAE market, launching its first store in Dubai Mall last year. The clothing brand, which caters to babies and children up to 12 years, has since opened up other stores in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.