In contrast to many Western economies, where department stores are facing challenges, these stores continue to attract footfall in the United Arab Emirates, even in an overall dampened consumption environment. However, high footfall does not necessarily translate into sales, since some consumers go to department stores to “window shop” for products that they then tend try to find online for a better price.
Department stores in the United Arab Emirates has traditionally been the primary sales channel for luxury products; however, these outlets are now being challenged by the rise of e-commerce sites such as Farfetch. This company strives to appeal to the younger generation by sponsoring concerts such as Sole DXB, which is targeted towards millennials.
Consumer expenditure on apparel and footwear continued to slow down during 2018, with residents faced with the increasing cost of living and balancing non-discretionary expenditure with the preference to spend on more value-added expenditure. Department stores therefore offered attractive promotions on apparel and footwear.
In 2017, Paris Gallery was the leader in department stores in value terms; in 2018, the mantle was passed to Landmark Group’s Centrepoint. This luxury retailer has a long-standing heritage in the retail landscape of the United Arab Emirates, dating back to 1981, and had 19 outlets in the country in 2018.
French luxury department store Le BHV Marais entered the United Arab Emirates with a flagship location. It was the second international Le BHV Marais store.
A source of success for Marks and Spencer has been its food range, and in 2018 it launched a vegetarian range in selected stores. Offerings such as Edamame bean burgers and Sweetcorn burgers, as well as Beetroot falafels are amongst some of the most popular, and are hard to find in other places.
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