UAE named world’s eighth best retail destination
The UAE has been ranked the eighth best retail market in the world and the number one in the Middle East in a new index produced by Arcadis.
The Retail Operation Index said retailers in the UAE benefit from a strong quality of infrastructure and a robust economic environment.
The UAE also ranked strongly for the quality of transportation and ease of getting up-and-running, which is holding many other countries in the region back, Arcadis said.
Hong Kong, Singapore, the US, Japan and the UK were named as the world’s top five retail hubs. Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden, along with the UAE, rounded out the top 10, according to Arcadis.
The index ranks 50 international markets according to the five key factors which include infrastructure quality, consumer demand and ease of establishing a business in the first instance.
Based on the findings, much of the UAE retail is driven by the tourist industry that further boomed in 2014 and a high calibre infrastructure in the country.
“The strategic location and physical presence of a store will continue to help successful retailers in the UAE make the greatest use of their store portfolios and brand marketing to attract customers,” said Christopher Seymour, head of Middle East Markets at Arcadis.
“The quality of transportation such as roads and metros is a key factor contributing to a retailer’s success as the growing young population and increased number of expats and tourists make the decision to shop based on their accessibility from direct metro links to shopping malls.”
Arcadis forecast that the healthy performance will continue as consumer confidence will be boosted as a result of economic stability, which will in turn lead to more spending, higher employment and increased numbers of expats and tourists.
Its report also said retailers are seeing enhancements in prevalence of foreign ownership, trade freedom and logistics performance across the UAE market, creating a more stable base for operations.
Seymour added: “For retailers with international aspirations, weighing up where, how and when to expand into a new region, country or city is critical if they are to stay ahead of the competition and meet their business objectives. Retailers entering or optimising portfolios in the UAE need to be aware of the demographics and market demands and tailor their portfolios accordingly.”
Elsewhere in the region, Qatar and Saudi Arabia ranked in the second quartile, reflective of their lower ease of doing business rating and comparably less developed infrastructure.
This is largely due to challenges associated with the current infrastructure programs taking place throughout the cities, as well as restrictions in regulations impacting those operating within the country, Arcadis said.