Image Credit: Atiq-ur-Rahman/Gulf News
Dubai: Nike is planning a major overhaul of its retail offering in Dubai, according to four people familiar with the matter, with a huge new store slated for 2018.
The world’s biggest sportswear maker will open a Niketown in Dubai Mall sometime next year, said the individuals, who asked not to be identified because the information is not public yet.
In a significant shake-up of its retail offering, the new store will set in motion a reshuffle of its two existing spaces at the mall.
The opening of Nike’s new flagship shop, expected to be located in the space that Kinokuniya Bookstore left in February 2017, will pave the way for the existing Jordan Brand store to move in to the space Nike is vacating on the ground floor. A Nike Lab store, the company’s high-end retail concept created in 2014, will then open in the old Jordan store.
The Nike Lab store will feature limited edition collaborations and other rare footwear and clothing.
Dubai will become the ninth city in the world to acquire a Nike Lab, joining Milan, London, Tokyo, Chicago, Paris, New York, Shanghai and Beijing.
The new flagship Niketown store is expected to be one of the brand’s biggest globally, according to three people associated with the store.
“It will most likely be Nike’s largest store in the world,” said one footwear industry individual familiar with the negotiations.
The biggest Nike store in the world is currently in the UK: Niketown London covers approximately 42,000 square feet over four floors.
The space that Kinokuniya Bookstore vacated in February is 68,000 square feet, according to the company’s website, meaning that the Nike store would be significantly larger if it took the whole space.
According to a quarterly report released in June 2017 from Dubai Mall owner Emaar, the company currently charges Dh680 per square foot, with an occupancy rate of 99 per cent across its flagship regional malls.
At this average rate, not factoring in any discounts or special rental agreements, Nike would be expecting to pay over $12 million (Dh44 million) every year to lease the entire space.
In an emailed statement to Gulf News, Sun & Sand Sports said that they were unable to “confirm or provide any information at this stage.”
According to one individual familiar with internal discussions at Sun & Sand Sports, the sportswear retailer came to an agreement with Nike to revive the Niketown brand for its new Dubai Mall flagship store.
Since 2013, the US company has been moving away from the Niketown label, renaming its Niketown in San Francisco to simply Nike San Francisco.
Over the last two years, the UAE-based Sun & Sand Sports has been aggressively expanding its business, with plans to open 500 Sun & Sand Sports-branded stores between 2015 and 2022.
Nike did not immediately respond to a request for comment.