The retail industry has thrived in the GCC region over the last several years largely due to increasing purchasing power, growing expatriate population, changing lifestyle and an expanding tourism & hospitality industry. Implementation of governments’ progressive policy agenda and increasing private sector contribution to the overall economic growth has made the Gulf one of the widely pursued retail destinations in the world. The industry grew in 2011 despite political uncertainty in some countries within the region and a global economic deceleration, reaching a market size of $186.7 billion. Its fundamental structure remained broadly unchanged, with the region’s two largest economies, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, primarily fuelling the sector’s growth.
Robust spending power supported by sustainably high oil prices makes the local population partly insensitive to prices, a strong positive for retailers in the country.