Digital technologies, immersive experiences, rich entertainment to drive success for KSA malls


February 20, 2023 | By RetailME Bureau

Digital technologies, immersive experiences, rich entertainment to drive success for KSA malls

The rapid pace of retail development in Saudi Arabia has created opportunities for global and regional developers to invest in digitally enabled, immersive mall experiences.

The integration of digital experiences with physical stores in the Kingdom will be a central theme at the ninth Retail Leaders Circle (RLC) MENA Summit. The Summit will take place in Riyadh from March 7-8 where policymakers and thought leaders will discuss how increased investment can drive positive change in the industry.

Among mega developments, Cenomi Centers is adding 728,000 sqm of gross leasable area (GLA) with seven new developments in the pipeline, including three new flagship projects Jawharat Riyadh, Jeddah and Al-Khobar.

Elsewhere in the Kingdom, mixed-use developments like Majid Al Futtaim Group’s Mall of Saudi are bringing new integrated lifestyle options to the country. Upon completion, the Mall of Saudi will feature around 700 retail units, 100 F&B outlets, 182,000 sqm of office space, 1,800 homes, 2,000 hotel keys and 29,700 sqm of leisure & entertainment.

The Avenues – Riyadh, a project being developed on an area of 1.8 million sqm by Shomoul holding, a joint venture between Mabanee Company of Kuwait, Al Fozan Holding and Alshaya Group, is expected to become one of the largest commercial malls in the Middle East with a gross leasable area of 400,000 sqm.

“Saudi’s existing malls should be preparing now for the hyper-competitive landscape that these next-generation developments will usher in. Changing consumer preferences and the continued rise of e-commerce make it imperative for malls to integrate digital technologies, immersive experiences and rich entertainment offers to their mix,” said Panos Linardos, Chairman of the Retail Leaders Circle.

The RLC MENA Summit will address the challenge of creating purpose-driven experiences as part of the overall theme of ‘Digital Economy and Purposeful Growth.’

The summit’s line-up of more than 80 speakers includes: Olayan AlWetaid, Group CEO, stc; Mohamad Mourad, Managing Director and CEO, Cenomi Group; Ahmed Galal Ismail, CEO, Majid Al Futtaim – Holding; John Hadden, CEO, Alshaya Group; Patrick Chalhoub, Group President, Chalhoub Group; Renuka Jagtiani, Chairwoman,  Landmark Group; Faraz Khalid, CEO, noon; Amin Magrabi, Executive Chairman, MAGRABi Retail Group; Nisreen Shocair, CEO, Virgin Mobile MEA; Matthew Shay, President and CEO, National Retail Federation, US; Zia Daniell Wigder, Chief Content Officer, Insider Intelligence, US and; Michael Ward, Managing Director, Harrods, UK.

“The ninth Retail Leaders Circle significantly supports the Kingdom’s efforts to build a new model of extraordinary retail and commerce experiences within a digital, inclusive and sustainable ecosystem,” Linardos added.

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