An increasing number of businesses in Qatar, including those who operate in malls, feel bigger spaces appealing to customers could bring in more profit in a post-pandemic era, it is learnt.
“There are a selected number of tenancies seeking larger footprint stores. While this may involve additional cost, the larger footprint drives a more competitive rent value,” Doha Festival City (DHFC) general manager Robert Hall told Gulf Times.
“Some brand franchises are combining their house brands under one tenancy and others have expanded ranges to meet with consumer demand, which remains ever-changing in retail,” he added.
Hall said that in the GCC, they are interested to see certain Western fashion houses (only available to online retail in the West) still take and even expand mall footprints.
This, he noted, shows “the underlying strength of the consumer market and the continued ‘social engagement’ focus of malls”.
Meanwhile, Hall also highlighted the importance of sustainability in the malls’ planning and development, and in implementing its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.
“The (Covid-19) pandemic has forever altered the retail landscape and sparked renewed interest in sustainability with more companies putting an even stronger focus on it now during the crisis. This pandemic has elevated consumers’ focus on sustainability and willingness to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.
“Many consumers are now willing to shop and travel differently. When choosing a brand, consumers are becoming more conscious and consider sustainability as an important factor when purchasing a product,” Hall pointed out.
“We understand this trend and are continuously working towards delivering on our social responsibility commitment. We make sure to involve visitors, retailers and stakeholders in our CSR initiatives, which is the only way to make them truly impactful,” he said. “Today, consumers are choosing to engage with purpose-driven brands and come to purpose-driven malls. At DHFC, we aim to empower our customers and encourage them to make a difference by supporting meaningful causes.”
It is learnt that many businesses, particularly those in the food and beverage sector, saw the advantage of having both indoor and outdoor areas to dine in, which meets customers’ demand while ensuring their safety as well.
An employee of a popular restaurant chain said such a strategy, while involves extra costs, has been “very effective” in attracting more customers, and “the numbers continue to increase as Covid-19 restrictions are gradually lifted”.
“While precautionary measures remain in place, guests are also looking for wide spaces where they can sit and dine comfortably with their families and friends, and keeping a distance from other people,” she added.