Saudi Arabia tops world list for new retailers
RETAIL BOOST: Saudi Arabia attracted more new retailers than any other country in the world during the past year. (Getty Images)
by Soren Billing - 10 June 2009
Saudi Arabia saw more new retailers arrive in the past year than any other country in the world, according to new research by real estate consultancy CB Richard Ellis (CBRE).
The kingdom attracted 37 new international retailers over the last year, according to an annual CBRE study that maps the global footprint of 280 of the world’s top retailers across 67 countries.
“What makes the retail market in the region so appealing is that over recent years has been the overall growth in the KSA, which has allowed for some strong sales figures and that has underpinned the introduction of new brands and the rapid expansion of outlets,” said Mark Morris-Jones, director of retail at CBRE Middle East.
“We are seeing readjustments to the market given the current conditions, and this is a factor of a maturing market, that now evaluates each location on an individual basis as part of a business strategy. This can only be good in the medium and long term, and reinforces the industry base.”
Kuwait, home of retail giant MH Alshaya, came second in the survey, with the UAE not far behind in fourth place.
The growing retail offer in the Arab world’s most populous country poses another challenge for Dubai retailers, many of whom derive a significant part of their income from Saudi tourists.
A lack of high quality retail space has kept international brands from entering Saudi Arabia, but the opening of several new, Dubai-style shopping malls, such as Jeddah’s Mall of Arabia, means that is about to change.
The Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) this year sought to attract more GCC visitors as tourists from some of its key markets, including the UK, were hit by the international recession.
According to CBRE, Saudi Arabia also saw more luxury brands enter the market than any other country. Out of the 37 new openings, 12 were in the luxury segment.
Among the new retail brands to enter the kingdom this year are US apparel giant Express, which is set to open its third store outside America in Riyadh this summer.