Doha’s organised retail market currently provides almost 1.4mn square metres of leasable accommodation in some 21 purpose-built retail malls, consultancy and research firm DTZ Qatar has said in a report.
This, DTZ Qatar said “excludes small neighbourhood centres and stand-alone hypermarkets.”
More than 40% of organised retail accommodation is now provided in the three most prominent destination malls in Qatar — Doha Festival City, The Mall of Qatar and Villaggio Mall.
The most recent mall to open in Doha was Tawar Mall in Umm Lekhba, which opened earlier this year. The addition of 90,000 sq m of retail space in Tawar brought total new supply to more than 600,000 sq m since 2015.
Prior to 2016, the report said the organised retail market had been undersupplied, characterised by full occupancy and increasing rents. The opening of as many as six major retail malls since 2016, coupled with the downturn in overall consumer spending has resulted in an oversupply being created.
“Increasing vacancy rates in some of the major retail malls and competition between new malls for tenants has resulted in downward pressure on rents. Many prime retail destinations continue to enjoy full occupancy and attract high footfall, despite the increase in supply; however, some malls that lack strong anchors or don’t have a strong leisure and food and beverage (F&B) component are seeing a drop-in footfall and occupier demand,” DTZ Qatar noted.
Outside of the ‘Organised Retail’ sector, the market in Qatar comprises largely of community mini-malls, ‘Al Furjan’ markets, high street showrooms, and traditional souqs, most of which experience high occupancy, by offering lower rents and more flexible lease terms than the larger malls.
The demand for F&B outlets remains strong, although operators are increasingly ‘rent-sensitive’. Over the past 6 months, DTZ has witnessed a significant increase in enquiries from F&B operators, notably those looking for ‘casual dining’ restaurants.
Prime retail rents in the main retail malls are still in the region of QR250 — QR350 per sq m for smaller line stores; however new occupiers are increasingly likely to secure generous incentives, depending on the property.
Showroom and high street retail premises typically command rents of QR100 to QR160 per sq m depending on their size and location. Rents in Al Furjan markets, which are a government backed initiative, are typically restricted to QR6,000 per month for small units, DTZ Qatar said.
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