In a sign of Qatar’s maturing retail market, a local property developer says it plans to open the country’s first outlet mall by March of next year.
Located in West End Park, near the Industrial Area in Mesaimeer, the single-story Doha Outlet Mall will be 20,470sqm, or roughly one-sixth the size of City Center.
Outlet malls typically contain single-brand stores selling off-season or leftover merchandise at a discount. Backers of the Doha Outlet Mall say it will be the first of its kind in Qatar.
Officials said 75 percent of the roughly 170 stores have been leased, but declined to name any specific retailers at a press conference on Sunday, saying only that there will be high-end fashion, jewelry, electronics, shoes, perfumes and sporting goods outlets.
When it was first discussed, officials said the complex was geared towards low-income laborers. But in the run-up to its opening last October, managers have stressed that the entertainment complex is open to families as well.
Qatar is currently undergoing a retail building boom, with some 1.48 million square meters – the equivalent of 10 Villaggio malls – scheduled to be completed by 2020, according to real estate services firm Colliers International.
In a report released late last year, Colliers said mall owners may find filling all those stores to be a challenge as the supply of retail space increases faster than the demand from Qatar’s shoppers.
But Mana bin Ibrahim Al Mana – the chairperson of Qatar Property Management, which is heading the Doha Outlet Mall project – said his business model means he’ll be complementing, rather competing against, the country’s growing number of shopping centers.
“Retailers that have five locations (across Qatar) have a lot of stock they need to liquidate,” he said.
Al Mana said he hopes the mall will be a popular tourist draw, both due to its proximity to Salwa Road – which leads directly to Saudi Arabia – as well as a planned shuttle service to several five-star hotels.
He declined to provide the total project cost, saying only that the development expenses – features such as landscaping and interior fit-outs, but not the value of the land or the building itself – were roughly QR80 million (US$21.98 million).