According to an industry analyst, at Dubai's current demographic levels, retail facilities would demand that every man, woman and child spend a minimum of $7,800 annually to sustain an average sales figure of $3,500 a square metre a year in more than 30 shopping malls.
The UAE, which continues to dominate the Gulf shopping mall sector, is expected to record a 145 per cent growth in Gross Leaseable Area (GLA) to 2.7 million square metres or 0.57 square metres per capita by the end of 2006, according to a survey by the Middle East Council of Shopping Centres (MECSC).
Recent statistics also indicate that the AGCC states have a potential of 9.4 million square metres of retail space, of which Dubai accounts for a major share. By 2009, retail activities in shopping centres in Dubai are expected to contribute over 50 per cent to GDP, according to a report in Khaleej Times.
Dubai is currently experiencing a major boom in the retail sector which is attributed to tourism, shopping festivals and high disposable income.
The growth of the shopping mall sector includes new projects such as the Mall of Arabia, Dubailand, Dubai Festival City, Dubai Outlet Mall, Burj Dubai Complex, Dubai Pearl, The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence.
According to sources, the Mall of Arabia will cover 600,000 square metres of GLA and will be the largest mall in the world. The current record is held by the West Edmonton Mall in Canada, with a GLA of 490,000 square metres.
Dubailand will have a huge mall which will be called Dubai Outlet City covering a GLA of 375,000 square metres. It will include the Dubai Outlet Mall, a business park, a web marketing centre, an artificial beach with restaurants, residences and a hotel.
Dubai Outlet Mall will be built by Al Ahli Group and once completed will offer a complete range of branded products without the associated premium price.
A further project, the Dubai bazaar to be built at Dubailand and will comprise of a traditional Islamic souq covering an area of more than 180,000 square metres of land.
Apart from Dubailand projects, Emaar Properties will build the largest shopping centre in the heart of Dubai, the Dubai Mall with a GLA of 351,000 square metres. It will offer specific zones dedicated to various merchandise categories including separate zones for fashion, children's garments and flagship stores.
The biggest shopping mall to open this year, is the Festival Centre at Dubai Festival City which will cover more than 160,000 square metres of area and will offer multi-use retail and entertainment complex featuring a variety of distinct zones. There will be 100 shops and kiosks behind the waterfront promenade and the Cresent Shopping mall will have more than 300 stores.