Retail rebound expected thanks to Qatar's solid finances
August 25 2020 09:20 PM
Robert Hall
Robert Hall

Qatar’s retail industry will witness a strong recovery from the effects of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic due to the country’s solid financial base, Doha Festival City general manager Robert Hall has said.

“We are very fortunate in Qatar to have not only a very solid financial base of the country, but also a great vision set by His Highness the Amir with his plans for the 2030 National Vision,” he told reporters at a virtual press briefing.

According to Hall, the Qatar government laid out “a very clear package of financial support” to the private sector, particularly for Qatari based businesses, during the onset of the outbreak, which substantially helped cushion the economy from the pandemic’s impact.

Hall noted that construction growth for hosting one of the most anticipated sporting events in the world – the FIFA World Cup 2022 – also continued.

“It is a very well-considered plan for the country and we are all very fortunate to have that in place and so we are very confident about rebound, we are very confident about returning to business,” he said.

Hall highlighted the efforts of the Qatar government to enable malls and other shopping centres in the country to reopen and introduce standards that would ensure the safety of shoppers and mall-goers.

At DHFC, more than QR1mn a month is spent on cleaning standards and various operation, among others, making it a beautiful and safe space for visitors and employees, he noted.

“Our team works extremely hard to achieve a 100% standard and I push them hard in those targets,” said Hall, stressing that they are also working in conjunction with the Qatar government to resolve, reduce, and in time eliminate Covid-19.

The mall, inline with the preventative measures set out by Qatari authorities, introduced stringent health and safety measures within its premises for its staff and visitors such as a thorough mall disinfection treatment on a weekly basis, robust cleaning and sanitisation operations during mall trading hours, and installing 127 hand sanitising stations in the areas that have commonly touched surfaces.

DHFC also require visitors to show their green Ehteraz QR code at its entrance and all shops, apart from wearing a face mask at all time. It also installed physical distancing stickers in common queuing areas, such as ATM machines, banks, telecommunication kiosks and branches and various retail shops to help and guide shoppers.

Hall cited DHFC’s various support to its retailers, comprised of local and international brands, particularly during their temporarily closure amid the pandemic.

“We have a long-term commitment and so many discussions and many interactions, we have ensured that our retailers have been supported during the period they were closed,” he said. “As retailers have opened we are looking to support further those brands that need support”.

“Social interaction is still a key fundamental on what we do so once we have supported some businesses in the short term we expect quite a strong rebound,” he said, noting that “it will certainly be the strongest rebound in the GCC”.

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