*Organised retail supply in the country has more than doubled since 2015, says DTZ
Qatar is expected to see nine new retail developments, including five this year despite the blockade, as retailers and shoppers gravitate towards larger malls offering more entertainment and amenities, DTZ Qatar, a real estate services entity, has said.
In a power-point presentation, DTZ officials on Wednesday said the new retail development under construction would offer as much as 750,000sqm.
"If completed in time, 2019 may see the opening of five additional retail malls in Doha that would see supply increase by more than 350,000sqm," it said, referring to Doha Mall, Katara Mall, Northgate Mall, La Galleria and Doha Souq.
The most recent retail mall to open in Qatar is the Tawar Mall in Umm Lekhba, which provides approximately 90,000sqm of leasable retail space.
Organised retail supply in Qatar has more than doubled since 2015 with the opening of 13 new malls in Doha, Al Khor and Al Wakra. Total supply of gross leasable area within retail malls now tops 1.4mn sqm, of which almost 800,000sqm is provided in the country’s five largest ‘super-regional’ malls.
Outside of the main organised malls, outdoor destinations such as Medina Centrale and Porto Arabia on The Pearl Qatar, Katara Cultural Village and Souq Waqif provide in excess of 200,000sqm of leasable retail accommodation, which all comprise a high percentage of food and beverage outlets.
The substantial increase in retail development has transformed the market from undersupply to oversupply within three years, which has had an "impact" on both rental levels and occupancy in most of the major retail malls, DTZ said, adding rental levels are likely to reduce in secondary malls over the next two years.
"Oversupply has become a problem, which is likely to see retailers and shoppers gravitate towards the larger malls offering more entertainment and amenities such as food and beverage (F&B) provisions, strong anchors and generous car parking facilities," DTZ said.
Demand for F&B outlets remains strong in Qatar, although operators are increasingly ‘rent-sensitive’, it said, adding over the past six months, DTZ has witnessed a "significant" increase in inquiries from F&B operators, notably those looking for ‘casual dining’ restaurants.
"This industry has recently seen a significant boost in the business, brought about by delivery apps such as Talabat," it said.
Rents are still in the region of QR250-QR350 per sqm per month for some of the prime retail malls; however, there are signs that discounted rents are on offer in some secondary locations in order to retain tenants and maximise occupancy.
Showroom and high street retail premises typically command rents of QR100 to QR160per sqm per month depending on their size and location, it said, highlighting that rents in Al Furjan markets, which are a government backed initiative, are typically restricted to QR6,000 per month for small units.