The total leasable area of organised retail accommodation throughout Qatar, including neighbourhood malls, has now surpassed 1.5mn sqm, according to the Cushman and Wakefield Qatar (CWQ).
The overall supply in Doha’s 20 largest organised retail malls now totals over 1.3mn sqm, following the recent opening of the Galleria at Msheireb, CWQ said in a latest report.
In addition to the organised retail malls, outdoor destinations including Souq Waqif, Katara Cultural Village, Medina Centrale, and La Croisette provide more than 230,000sqm of leasable space, it said.
Following the lifting of most Covid-related restrictions in the fourth quarter, the retail sector performed "relatively well" in Doha in the early months of 2021, according to CWQ.
The easing of the Covid-19 related restrictions towards the end of last year saw workplaces, retail malls, restaurants, and other public places return towards pre-pandemic activity in the first quarter (Q1) – albeit with capacity restrictions and safety measures in place.
While footfall increased in Qatar’s retail malls in Q1 2021, uncertainty about the duration of lockdown measures from country to country and the accelerating global trend towards online shopping means that many global retail chains have put real-estate acquisition plans on hold over the past 12 months, the report said.
"This is mainly affecting take-up in retail malls, with vacancy rates increasing in recent months," CWQ said, adding while many of Qatar’s malls continue to perform well, it estimates that the overall occupancy rates for organised retail have fallen to approximately 80%.
Doha Festival City accounted for 19% of the organised supply in Q1, 2021; followed by Mall of Qatar (15%), City Centre (10%), Villaggio and Tawar Mall (7% each) and others (42%).
Highlighting that rents for ‘in-line’ retail stores in Doha’s main organised malls typically range from QR200 to QR320 per sqm month; it said lower rents are available to anchor stores and larger outlets.
"While headline rents have not significantly decreased in many of the main malls throughout, many retailers have been offered temporary discounts or rent holidays during the past year to cushion the impact of the pandemic," it said.
Outside of the main malls, high street and local convenience retail units are typically available for between QR100 and QR180 per sqm, depending on the size of unit and the level of footfall, it said, adding premiums typically apply for units with licenses to sell food and beverages.
Al Furjan markets are a government-led initiative to provide local retail conveniences within residential communities. These units are available at discounted monthly rents to small independent businesses.
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