Shopping and entertainment drive the GCC retail experience

Known as the commercial capital of the Middle East, Dubai is home to some of the largest shopping malls in the world and a sophisticated retail ecosystem.

As PYMNTS recently reported, local brands are embracing innovation and offering a glimpse into the future of hybrid shopping experiences that combine elements of e-commerce with in-store retail.

Read more: Smart retail brands drive hybrid shopping experience in the UAE

But beyond hybrid shopping in the UAE, alternative retail destinations in Oman, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are emerging on the scene, providing a unique mix of shopping with entertainment and leisure to diversify the Emirati Council region’s retail appeal. Gulf Cooperation (GCC).

Majid Al Futtaim breaks the mold in shopping malls in Saudi Arabia and Oman

Last month, one of the largest mall operators in the Middle East, Dubai-based Majid Al Futtaim, launched an immersive experience at Riyadh Park Mall in Saudi Arabia in partnership with US virtual reality (VR) company Dreamscape. .

The new VR location is the second Dreamscape project to open in a Majid Al Futtaim mall following the company’s regional debut at the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai.

See also: VR Venture Gets Hollywood Backing

Indeed, Majid Al Futtaim is increasingly establishing its presence in the Saudi Arabian retail market and is currently building what is expected to be the Kingdom’s largest shopping mall, the Mall of Saudi, in Riyadh.

The new shopping and leisure complex will include a five-star hotel, 600 shops spread over almost 300,000 square meters and an indoor ski slope and a 40,000 square meter snow park.

Related: i2c, UAE Retailer Majid Al Futtaim Launch Payment & Rewards Solution

Majid Al Futtaim seems to follow the same formula of integrating retail, leisure, entertainment and catering in other markets.

Another of the firm’s malls, the Mall of Oman, which celebrated its one-year anniversary last month, also added a snow-covered park along with 15 movie screens, the country’s first IMAX, an arcade and a playground. of games for children.

Learn more: PYMNTS GCC Series: Still in its infancy, Oman FinTech Hub shows huge growth potential

The Omani capital of Muscat has further attracted international brands other than Majid Al Futtaim, including Emirati companies looking to expand their regional presence.

For example, department store Jashanmal opened its first Oman location in May, and Dubai-based Al-Futtaim Group opened the country’s first Ikea franchise in June.

See also: Oman’s Muscat Bank Introduces QR Code Payments

Qatari retailers prepare for the World Cup

Ahead of next month’s FIFA World Cup, Qatar’s retail sector has been preparing for the more than one million soccer fans expected to arrive in the Arab country.

Related: PYMNTS GCC Series: Big Tech Companies Set Up in Qatar

A key hub of activity during the tournament will be the Doha Sports City complex, also known as the Aspire Zone, which is home to the Khalifa International Stadium and Doha’s iconic Villaggio Mall.

Last month, for example, a Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) booth located in the Villagio Mall was signing up consumers for limited-edition FIFA World Cup Qatar Visa cards. 2022 from the bank and inviting shoppers to play an immersive virtual reality soccer game.

Qatar National Bank QIB or Visa cardholders have also been able to win tickets to World Cup matches in another initiative taking place at Villagio Mall.

Read more: QNB reveals new payment services in Qatar

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New PYMNTS Study: How Consumers Use Digital Banks

A PYMNTS survey of 2,124 US consumers shows that while two-thirds of consumers have used FinTechs for some aspect of banking, only 9.3% call them their primary bank.

We are always looking for opportunities to partner with innovators and disruptors.

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