Dozens of retailers and restaurants, including fashion outlet H&M and American breakfast chain IHOP, have been putting the finishing touches on their stores and eateries inside Gulf Mall ahead of an expected opening later this year.
But an official launch date has yet to be set.
During a visit to the under-construction complex today, Doha News observed some employees installing shelving units, stocking merchandise and hanging decorations inside their respective stores.
Other shops appeared to be further away from opening, with construction hoarding covering storefronts as workers in blue coveralls entered and exited with power tools in their hands.
One store manager said that the last projected opening date he received from mall managers was March 15. However, he said he was skeptical that date would be met.
Speaking to Doha News, assistant mall manager Rosie Nmeir said that no opening date has yet been set and refused to speculate if it would be next month, in April or later in the year.
Some tenants appear to have been under the impression that it would open earlier. Restaurant chain Fatburger said on its website that its Gulf Mall location would open in August 2014.
Sizing it up
At 160,000 square meters, Gulf Mall – located next to Ezdan Mall off of the Doha Expressway – was set to become one of the largest shopping centers in Qatar when news of its development was first announced in 2010.
When it opens, it will still be more than twice the size of Landmark Mall (which is across the road) and approximately 28 percent larger than Villaggio. But Gulf Mall will soon be dwarfed by several other shopping centers under construction.
Meanwhile, Doha Festival City is expected to be even larger at 260,000 square meters, and is projected to open in late 2016.
While many retailers are currently clamoring to enter or expand in Qatar, a shortage of retail space is currently preventing many from cashing in on the country’s rapidly growing and affluent population.
That’s expected to change in the coming years, as the opening of the country’s new mega-malls creates a glut of retail space that analysts say could make it difficult for Qatar’s older shopping centers to attract tenants and customers.
Nmeir said Gulf Mall is completely leased. Some of its stores include:
- British fashion and homeware retailer Matalan;
- Coffee shops Costa, Starbucks and Tim Hortons;
- Fashion and home decor store Centrepoint;
- Lingerie retailer Victoria’s Secret;
- French bakery Brioche Dorée;
- Fashion retailer Reserved;
- Skincare, cosmetics and fragrances shops The Body Shop and Bath & Body Works;
- Asian diner Pei Wei; and
- Footwear retailer Shoe Citi;
It was reported in 2011 that the Gulf Mall would cost $200 million to construct.
Note: This article has been corrected to note that Doha Festival City is scheduled to open in late 2016.