Level Shoe District, the world’s largest shoe store in Dubai Mall, sells 600 pairs a day but aims to almost double the number in the next few years.
The 96,000 square foot store, which includes 300 brands, of which around 40 are stand-alone designer boutiques, opened in October 2012 in an underused area of the mall.
“It was [the previous gold souk] an area that was not doing well,” said Rania Masri, the general manager of fashion concepts at Chalhoub Group, which owns and operates Level Shoe District.
“First of all we very much believed that the concept of one category all under one roof was the right way to go. We had the opportunity of the space. The footwear industry itself is showing immense growth around the world.
“In 2013, the value of the luxury shoe category internationally was US$17 billion. That grew from $15bn the year before.”
The store wants to reach 1,000 sales a day within a few years.
Around a fifth of its customers are UAE residents, while the rest are tourists. Shoppers from Saudi Arabia, particularly Riyadh, are among the top spenders, as are Chinese and Indian tourists.
“In the past couple of weeks we have seen more Russians. The weather is changing in Russia so it’s a great time of year to be in Dubai,” said Ms Masri.
The store prides itself on exclusives, she said, and is one of just a handful to sell the world’s first 24-carat gold velvet shoes.
“We were the first store in the world to launch it, two months ahead of five international department stores,” said Ms Masri.
The high heeled pump for women retails at Dh12,000, while the men’s version, a slipper style shoe, costs Dh19,000. It has sold three pairs, two women’s and one men’s, since it launched at the beginning of October.
“We have only one per size. It’s a very exclusive product and whoever buys this doesn’t want to see many people wearing it,” she said.