Novelty appears to be the name of the game for Ezdan Mall, which will open some 60 chains in Qatar for the first time, including a 6,000-square-foot WH Smith bookshop, a massive Forever 21 outlet and of course, Tim Hortons.
“We didn’t want to duplicate what everyone else was doing,” Malik Q Awan, the mall’s general manager, told Doha News in an exclusive interview and tour of the building.
In order to compete in Qatar’s saturated mall market, with Landmark Mall sitting just across the road and visible from the front entrance, and the new Gulf Mall springing up next door, Ezdan appears to have wooed several international retailers. Many have already set up shop elsewhere in the Gulf, but not yet done business in Qatar, including Aeropostale, Northface and Popcorn Girl. There are also the usual suspects like McDonald’s, La Senza and Aldo.
Opening ‘very soon’
While construction on the mall and its vast underground carpark is largely complete, the interior still needs more work. Awan, who originally said the mall would open last September, declined to give a new opening date for the facilities, adding only that it would be ready for customers “very soon.”
But he did say progress was pushed back several months after last year’s fatal fire at Villaggio mall. To better prepare for emergencies, Ezdan has retooled its original plans by adding several emergency exits, installing glass panes in the ceiling to improve lighting even if the electricity shuts off, and has said it will train stores’ sales representatives and janitors in evacuation procedures.
Also of note:
- Some 97 percent of the mall has already been leased out. Current count puts the offerings at 221 shops, including 151 stores, 16 coffee shops, 12 restaurants and 13 food court eateries.
- With shops on the basement level, ground floor and a first floor, Ezdan Mall is twice the size of Landmark, Awan said.
- This is Ezdan Holdings first mall project, though it is planning to open a second, larger mall in Wakra later this year.
- Ezdan mall will cater to middle to upper-income families, with a range of kid-friendly options, including a massive play area and toy store.
- In terms of mall offerings, Carrefour will sell only groceries such as food, including fresh produce, while the UAE’s Sharaf DG will cater to the electronics buffs.
- And for the Muslim women who are caught up in the Inglot “halal” nail polish craze, there is one of those stores too.
Credit: Photos by Omar Chatriwala