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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Doha Festival City fills up, as Harvey Nichols expands to Qatar

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As construction continues apace on what will become Qatar’s biggest shopping mall, the London-based luxury department store Harvey Nichols confirmed it will launch in the country in early 2017 with an outlet at Doha Festival City mall.

The retailer, which has its flagship store in Knightsbridge and is known colloquially as “Harvey Nicks,” signed an agreement with Qatar’s Saleh Al Hamad Al Mana Group to take 80,000 square feet (7,430 square meters) of space. This makes it an anchor tenant for the mall, which will open its doors several months earlier in September 2016.

The Doha store will have an “exclusive edit” of fashion, beauty, childrenswear, homeware and hospitality services.

It is the first high-end, international department store to be confirmed as a tenant by DFC and symbolizes the start of a battle to attract the biggest names in retail by the numerous malls planned to open in Qatar in the coming years.

So far, 80 percent of the DFC has now been leased, well ahead of schedule, the mall operators told Doha News, adding they are confident that it will be fully let by the time it opens.

Announcing the expansion to Qatar, Harvey Nichols’ chief executive Stacey Cartwright said in a statement:

“Doha is an exciting market for Harvey Nichols due to the significant growth we are seeing in the country. The Qatari customer is increasingly important to our UK business and we look forward to being able to service them in their home market.”

Regional expansion

Qatar will be the eighth international location for Harvey Nichols outside of the UK and Ireland and the fourth store in the Gulf, after Dubai, Kuwait and Riyadh. It also has two outlets each in Hong Kong and Turkey and is about to launch a shop in the Azerbaijan capital of Baku.

Harvey Nichols Dubai
Harvey Nichols Dubai

Known for stocking some of the world’s leading designer and fashion names, it is also popular for its own branded luxury foodstuffs, as well as its food market, cafes and restaurants, which are popular locations to “see and be seen.”

However, it is not without controversy. In 2013, after a 10-year embargo, its UK stores started re-selling real fur, sparking ongoing protests from anti-fur lobbyists PETA and other organizations. Harvey Nichols Dubai has also sold fur-trimmed items in its winter collections in the past.

Today, Harvey Nichols won a battle in the UK courts to stop anti-fur protestors “disturbing” its customers. An injunction was granted, putting in place an exclusion zone outside the entrances to the UK stores and banning protestors’ use of megaphones.

Mall progress

Kareem Shamma, CEO of mall owner Bawabat Al Shamal Real Estate Co. (BASREC) told Doha News that attracting Harvey Nichols as an anchor tenant secured the luxury end of the mall’s offering, which will represent about 20 percent of its retailers.

“Harvey Nichols has a fantastic reputation and it will attract footfall from people who are looking for that sort of quality.

“But the mall won’t all be about luxury – we will have the full range of stores, catering to the marketplace,” he said.

Construction started on Doha Festival City October 2011, while work on the foundations began in January 2014. In May this year BASREC awarded a contract worth QR1.65 billion for the main works to a joint venture of Gulf Contracting Company and ALEC Qatar.

DFC construction
Construction on Doha Festival City, seen in early November.

When complete, the mall will host 550 outlets, including 85 cafes and restaurants. Currently, the only tenant operating from the site is furniture and housewear giant IKEA, which opened its long-awaited store in March 2013.

However, two major retail groups – the Kuwait-based M H Alshaya Co. and Lebanon-based Azadea Group – have promised a host of other stores, including Qatar’s first Pottery Barn, as well as H&M, Debenhams, Mothercare, Shake Shack and Pinkberry.

In July this year, DFC announced that a full-sized, 7,200-square-meter Monoprix store would open on the ground floor. This will be Qatar’s second outlet of the French food and fashion store after the West Bay branch opened just over a year ago.

Entertainment at the mall will include the city’s largest movie theater, with the 15-screen VOX cinema complex which will also have Doha’s first 4D film experience.

The technology allows viewers to experience sensations as well as visuals – such as rain, fog, wind, bubbles, scents and vibrations – depending on what’s happening on-screen.

Other, high-energy outdoor activities due to be featured in the mall include a snow park, rapid-river rafting, bungees and a zip wire, Shamma told Doha News.

“We wanted to attract entertainment in a format that hasn’t been seen in a mall here before. These will be exciting, healthy and unique to the region,” he added.

Competition

With a number of new malls scheduled to open in Qatar in the next couple of years, competition between them is fierce to secure attractions and big names to drive footfall.

Among the attractions planned for Mall of Qatar, which is due to open towards the end of next year, are Angry Birds theme park, digital Formula One racing and a Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatic theater.

Shamma said that the newcomers to Qatar’s shopping scene will help to shake things up a bit.

“The retail market will be crowded for a while, as retail is at its zenith at the moment. But very quickly the wheat will separate from the chaff and the quality malls will stand out, while the poorly designed and run malls will fall away.

“Our size and the diversity of what we will offer will attract people, who want the whole experience of DFC. Our mall management will also be of international standards, so it will be a well-run, very well-organized place,” he added.

Thoughts?

15 COMMENTS

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Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago

Another luxury venture that will be a big fail, much like all those luxury ventures at Villagio and the Pearl!

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

That’s not true. The last time I walked through the VIP area of Villagio I saw at least 4 customers in the luxury shops buying Gucci shoes and Tiffany watches and Prada skirts. Maybe there were as many as 6 customers. It was really hard to tell because it was simply packed.

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

with there prices im guessing if they get that many customers 2 buy stuff every week they will be fine

Grantley
Grantley
6 years ago

Best Christmas present ever. And I think I was one of those 4 customers in Villaggio VIP area, Michael but I was actually buying Jimmy Choo shoes, a Bvlgari watch and a Prada coat – for winter in Europe, dahling…

Expat
Expat
6 years ago

“Doha is an exciting market for Harvey Nichols due to the significant growth we are seeing in the country.” Ehem..“Doha is an exciting market for Harvey Nichols due to the significant number of local millionaires willing to spend thousands on clothes and accessories.” Yep, that seems quite right!

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

A cycle of dog eat dog that shows no signs of ending. Each “greatest ever” mall is destined to be replaced by another “greatest ever”. In the face of a tsunami of consumerism can Qatar really wonder why the remains of it’s Islamic culture is ebbing away?

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

I fail to see how shopping malls can erode Islamic culture. You can apply that logic to every religion if thats the case. Consumerism is everywhere and only going to grow as global consumer demand increases. Having something like the Museum of Islamic Art, the only one of it’s kind in the Gulf, as I am aware, doesn’t seem to demonstrate Islamic culture ebbing away, although granted there was not much historically to start with. What is more serious for Qataris is the growing impact of malls on consumer health. It’s fitness and health ebbing away for sure!

Pete
Pete
6 years ago

Well with that attitude to selling fur, they can count me out. Actually it’s way outa my price range…I now just have a good excuse not to shop there.

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago
Reply to  Pete

Anti-fur!!!! Eat more Chickens!!! The chilled Napa leather seats in my SUV sure are comfy….as are these wonderful Nike trainers with goatskin leather, anyone seen my driving gloves…….oh, I hate fur.

Blue
Blue
6 years ago

Another shop in another mall!!! Anyways shop online now – skimming the market when it comes to pricing strategies in Qatar.

My 2 year old asked me to take her to the zoo yesterday!!! Can we have a zoo in a mall – since all ventures end up being malls 🙁

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
6 years ago

Didnt know that about Havery Nicks and selling furs.

Yuk!!!

Won’t be going there.

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago
Reply to  Desert Witch

But leather shoes and a juicy burger from Shake Shack? Or is just that fur comes from something cute?

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
6 years ago
Reply to  Cerebus

In some ways you are right.
But there is a difference between killing endangered animals for their fur and the use of bovine and other leather. Cows pigs goats etc are farmed pretty much for every part of their body. Nothing goes to waste. So after we have eaten the best bits, minced up the not so good and processed it, sold the rest to Whiskas and Purina and buy bones off the butcher for our dogs, isn’t it better that the skins are also utilized to the max.

Of course if we didn’t eat meat we would not have all of those other secondary issues in the first place but that’s an other argument entirely.

For the record, I am against veal because of the way it is produced. But not against calf meat per se. If you see the difference.

Also I am a great believer in proper animal husbandry. All animals birds etc that are farmed should be free range and if possible organically reared.

In some cold countries like Russia and the Artics furs are necessary.
I think the farming or killing of animals purely for their fur is just that step too far. But yes I do eat meat and chicken and don’t feel guilty. That doesn’t necessarily make me a hypocrite. It just means I have a point where I stop and think.

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago
Reply to  Desert Witch

Fur is also largely farmed as opposed to wild caught, the other animal bits in the farming sense are also used up in all sorts of wonderful ways. Seals used to be killed and used the same as a cow or goat, the meat and oils from the fat sold on the markets in England or Canada. But with the ban on those products now its just killing for the fur. Its all about the market place. Which is the issue. I am not saying you are a hypocrite, but to not shop at a store because they sell an article of clothing manufactured in a way you don’t agree with? I mean yes, we vote with our wallets in a way, but this lose association is a bit of a stretch I think. Japan kills thousands of dolphins in the most inhumane way you can imagine every year, so do we also not buy Japanese goods? When you peel back the layers of anything, you will find something like this exists. Its likely that much of the clothing you have in your closets are made by kids or people working in near slave labor conditions, much like the homes we live in here. Its just that we seem to walk through the world drawing arbitrary lines about this or that, but then blindly turn an eye towards things that are likely even worse because it supports our needs or wants. In Qatar a fur is really not needed, so its easy to cast aside this store because of it. Its like the PETA people in London throwing blood on people that shop at the store. Meanwhile PETA kills thousands of shelter animals every year (the state inspector in Virginia likened their shelter to a euthanasia clinic. No that to me is hypocrisy.

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago

Here are some other bits of animals in your life to get artificially upset about.

Dihydrogenated tallow dimethyl ammonium chloride – yummy, its the stuff that makes your clothes soft, what you call Downey – its rendered animal fat.

Stearic acid – more animal byproducts used in the making of everything from tyres to plastic bags.

Shampoo – its not just tested on animals if its got Panthenol, Amino acids, or Vitamin B – its likely an animal source
Just a few examples….so why worry about just the fuzzy animals when there are all these others to get worked up over as well. I know…..its because I hate baby seals, but the hypocrisy around this is just laughable.

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