SERVING THE CUSTOMERS
As demand for retail space rapidly increases, a number of retail developments are being added to the government and real estate developers' agenda, boosting both employment and the contribution the sector makes to Sharjah's GDP.
As the UAE increasingly moves toward a service-based economy, retail sales becomes an important economic indicator. Concerns over a slowdown in the UAE's economic growth have not diminished consumer confidence; in fact, the overall UAE retail industry is growing faster than the economy as a whole, and is expected to grow by 5% both this year and in 2017, when it is set to reach AED200 billion.
Rapid population growth and increased numbers of visitors, in line with the government's tourism strategy, are making retail one of Sharjah's most promising sectors, encouraging both local authorities and the private sector to support the development of the industry. Sharjah has announced its retail industry expansion plans of adding 3 million sqft of shopping malls by 2020. As well as extending existing malls in the city, new retail centers are being created in the city's outskirts, mainly near the numerous master-planned community developments that have flourished in recent years. Sharjah's largest shopping mall, Sahara Centre, has already been expanded by 60% when an extra 1 million sqft was added to it, while City Centre Sharjah is currently being expanded by more than 409,000sqft. Whilst this may sound impressive, the biggest developments will be the greenfield mall projects outside of the city.
One of these projects is being developed by the Dubai-based conglomerate Majid Al Futtaim. The Al Zahia project is an AED30 billion investment to build 10 new mega malls across the UAE over the next 10 years, which would directly and indirectly create 170,000 jobs nationwide. One of these projects is a 'super regional' mall in Sharjah, adjacent to the master-planned gated community. The new mall, which will be called City Centre Al Zahia, will extend over 1.4 million square feet and is the largest mall under development in the UAE. With its strategic location on Sheikh Zayed Road, which connects Sharjah to the other emirates, the mall is expected to attract shoppers and visitors from all across the region.
Another complex being developed to satisfy Sharjah's growing demand for retail space is 'Zero 6'—a reference to Sharjah's dialing code. The 37,000sqft shopping mall is in the hands of Sharjah-based developer, Alef Group, and is the first of a series of 'Zero 6' malls planned by the group across the emirate.
On Sharjah's waterfront, the International Private Group and Gambert Architectural have partnered with Canadian designer OpenAire to develop Sharjah Mall, an iconic 300,000sqft shopping mall, due for completion by 2020.
Lastly, Tilal City, the mega-project mixed-use complex being developed by Sharjah's Tilal Properties, will include a 1 million sqft shopping center as one of the community's main attractions.
The impact of the retail industry's rapid growth is impressive. The most direct effect of a rising retail space demand is the opportunity for constriction firms and developers. In recent years, Sharjah's real estate sector has experienced tremendous growth and has become a pillar of the Emirate's economic development. Another important aspect of a robust retail industry is the creation of value chains. As consumers demand more goods, they feed a complex value chain by which retailers order more stock, factories purchase more raw materials to manufacture more goods, and so on. Of course, retail also boosts employment. In advanced economies, retail is one of the largest providers of employment across entire value chains, from manufacturing to human resources, from research to design, from administration to handling and so on, providing employment opportunities to both the skilled and unskilled labor force.
The UAE's retail industry is ranked as the eighth most attractive market in the world. And with retail set to become an even bigger focus for the economy, there is no doubt the government is once again on the right path to prosperity.
SERVING THE CUSTOMERS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Federal Supreme Council and Ruler, Sharjah
HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Federal Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, has been an inspiring leader of the Emirate since 1972, carefully watching over its development into the cultural capital of the Islamic world.read article
Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Executive Chairman, Department of Government Relations
TBY talks to Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Executive Chairman of the Department of Government Relations, on his department's role in coordinating the delivery of information to key stakeholders and the important part it plays in cultivating sustainable development.read article
HE Sultan Abdullah Bin Hadda Al Suwaidi, Chairman , Sharjah Economic Development Department
TBY talks to HE Sultan Abdullah Bin Hadda Al Suwaidi, Chairman of Sharjah Economic Development Department, on the resilience of Sharjah's economy and building on its well-diversified foundations.read article
HE Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman, Sharjah Media Corporation
TBY talks to HE Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Media Corporation & Chairman of Sharjah Media Centre, on competitiveness in the sector, its influence on the other Emirates, and expectations for the future.read article
HE Waleed Al Sayegh, Director General , Sharjah's Finance Departmen
TBY talks to HE Waleed Al Sayegh, Director General of Sharjah's Finance Department & CEO of Sharjah Asset Management, on fiscal policy direction and initiatives being introduced to increase efficiency and transparency from the top down.read article
Dr. Rashid Al Leem, Chairman , Sharjah Energy and Water Authority (SEWA)
TBY talks to Dr. Rashid Al Leem, Chairman of Sharjah Energy and Water Authority (SEWA), on the challenges facing the Emirate's plan to reach 30% water re-use by 2020, and changing the attitudes through education.read article
Mohammed N. Al Hazzaa, Director General , Emirates Company for Industrial Cities (ECIC),
TBY talks to Mohammed N. Al Hazzaa, Director General of Emirates Company for Industrial Cities (ECIC), on the company's performance, government support of the private sector, and forecasting occupancy trends.read article
Focus: Reducing water and power consumption
Under Dr. Rashid Al Leem's stewardship, Sharjah is aiming to become the first City of Conservation. This principally encompasses supplying electricity and water through sustainable avenues with technological efficiency while raising awareness of sustainability practices.read article
Ted Young, Project Head, Al Zahia Communities Business Unit at Majid Al Futtaim Properties
TBY talks to Ted Young, Project Head of the Al Zahia Communities Business Unit at Majid Al Futtaim Properties, on the reasons behind the market's resilience and the future of housing demands in the Emirate.read article
Focus: Mixed-use Developments
Cities within Cities
Sharjah's real estate sector is undergoing important transformations, with the government and developers focusing on megaprojects to attract investors. For this purpose, mixed-use developments are increasingly preferred to purely residential or commercial developments.read article
Focus: Fighting Cardiac Disease
The UAE Ministry of Health has stated that over half of all deaths in the UAE are the result of four oft-occurring issues: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, road traffic accidents, and congenital abnormalities. A survey from the Emirates Cardiac Society showed that almost 9 in 10 Emiratis are at risk of heart disease, with one in three unaware of that fact.read article
HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman , Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA)
TBY talks to HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), on the growing tourism sector in the Emirate, its strategies to boost cruise tourism, and the incredible progress in Sharjah.read article
Manal Ataya, Director General , Sharjah Museums Department (SMD)
TBY talks to Manal Ataya, Director General of the Sharjah Museums Department (SMD), on cooperating on international exhibits, its educational festivals, and the challenge to ensure that museums are accessible to all.read article
Hanan Al Mahmoud, Director, Al Jawaher Reception & Convention Centre (JRCC)
TBY talks to Hanan Al Mahmoud, Director of Al Jawaher Reception & Convention Centre (JRCC), on the appeal of Sharjah as a MICE destination, plans for expansion, and the projected benefits of Expo 2020.read article