Dubai: The retail industry makes up a third of Dubai’s economy, according to the Oxford Business Group. UAE is home to around 40 malls.
The Dubai Mall received more than 75 million visitors last year, nearly half of them tourists, said the mall’s developer, Emaar Properties.
To back the growing retail market, Emaar is planning to add 304,000 square metres (3.3 million square feet) of retail space to Dubai Mall.
Another big outlet, The Mall of the Emirates, wants to double its sales and is investing $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) over the next five years to add new stores and restaurants.
The expansions are in line with Dubai’s plans to increase tourism. The city will host the World Expo in 2020, and officials forecast the 6-monthlong event will attract 17.5 million visitors from outside the Emirates.
Fashion market analyst Cyrille Fabre of Bain and Co. says tourism and fashion drive one another in the UAE. Shopping is the third-largest reason people come to Dubai, he said last year at an event called Fashion Forward that brings together local designers, buyers and industry insiders.
“Fashion is a big tourist attraction and as the fashion industry grows, tourism grows and vice versa,” he said.