Mega malls to drive GCC retail market to $300b

Dubai: Mega-malls are boosting the GCC’s retail market to nearly USD 300 billion by 2018, driving investment in aluminum ceilings to enhance the customer experience, mall safety and sustainability, industry experts say.

Thanks to new mega-malls from Mall of the World in Dubai, to Al Maryah Central in Abu Dhabi and Mall of Saudi in Riyadh, and mega-events like Expo 2020 Dubai driving tourism growth, the GCC’s retail market is set to grow by 15 percent from USD 253 billion in 2016 to USD 290 billion by 2018, according to a recent Ardent Advisory report.

“GCC mall customers want a more comfortable shopping experience – with relaxing lighting and less noise interference. In response to customer demands, GCC retailers are investing in high-performance and light aluminum ceilings, which can provide an enhanced shopping experience, and increase customer dwell time and revenue,” said Frans van de Laak, General Manager at Hunter Douglas Middle East, the global architecture and design consultancy.

Supporting construction innovation, the global architecture and design consultancy Hunter Douglas is seeing strong Middle East demand for its recently-expanded line of metal and aluminum ceiling solutions, the Tavola baffle ceiling systems.

Hunter Douglas has seen strong success in installing baffle ceiling projects in GCC mega-projects such as the Burjuman Mall extension and the Al Fattan Crystal Towers in Dubai, and is currently installing the ceilings in the Al Maryah Central mall in Abu Dhabi.

“Our Tavola baffles ceiling system has a robust, attractive appearance. Thanks to the baffles’ height (150 mm), the lighting, air conditioning and other installations can be incorporated in the plenum, out of sight of the shopping public. Our wide range of colors and coatings gives architects endless design freedom,” Frans van de Laak adds.

Tavola baffles are lightweight, compatible with industry standards in lighting, speakers, HVAC, fire safety and security. Supporting sustainability, the Tavola baffles are made from up to 85 percent recycled content, and factory fabrication reduces waste.

“In the past we’ve had to outsource orders, collaborating with local suppliers. The investment in new production possibilities means we’re better equipped to respond to market demands,” Pieter van Rees, Business Development Manager of Architectural Projects at Hunter Douglas, said.

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