Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Tati, F&F, Matalan, Marks & Spencer, H&M, Mango, Zara – you name an international brand and it is more than likely that you’ll find it present in the GCC’s leading cities. F&B options include KFC, McDonald’s, The Cheesecake Factory, Five Guys and a host of others from every corner of the globe. The roster spans luxury to high street to value-for-money.
The world economy may currently be experiencing a slowdown that’s enveloping the region, but retail appears to be recession-proof in these dynamic markets, which include the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), where political unrest heightens market risk…
Dubai remains the gateway to the MENA region
Consider the following: In 2015, 57% of international brands tracked in the CBRE survey were present in Dubai; 38 new brands entered the city that year, 45 in 2014, 19 in 2013 and 25 in 2012. Abu Dhabi had 55 new brands in 2014 and 42 in 2013. Doha has figures of 29 in 2015 and 30 in 2014, while Muscat saw 17 new brands in 2012.
For the fifth year running, Dubai has retained its second spot after London among cities with the largest presence of international retailers, in CBRE Research’s annual monitor of cross-border retailer activity (How global is the business of retail). Abu Dhabi has also moved up the ranks to make the UAE a global retail powerhouse (third in the CBRE country rankings). The GCC isn’t far behind, with Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Oman figuring prominently.