Emaar Malls, a unit of Dubai’s biggest listed developer, Emaar Properties, swung to a profit in the second quarter after posting a loss in the same period a year ago, as the emirate's retail sector continued its recovery from the pandemic.
Net profit for the three months to the end of June rose to Dh304 million ($82.7m), compared with a Dh33m loss in the same period a year earlier, the company said in a statement on Tuesday to the Dubai Financial Market, where its shares are traded.
Revenue surged an annual 74 per cent in the period to Dh1.15 billion.
Emaar Malls said it "delivered healthier than projected profits as the company continues to experience recovery across the business".
Net profit increased an annual 80 per cent in the first half of the year to Dh622m from a year earlier. Revenue in the January to June period increased an annual 23 per cent to Dh2bn from a year earlier.
“Our efforts continue to focus on diversifying and growing the malls’ retail offerings, while driving new developments forward to ensure ongoing financial profitability,” an Emaar representative said.
Sectors such as tourism and retail in Dubai, the commercial and trading centre of the Middle East, have benefited significantly from the Dh7.1bn in stimulus funding that was pumped into the economy to deal with Covid-19.
The emirate was also one of the first in the world to open its borders to visitors last year, leading to a steady recovery of its retail sector.
Sales across Emaar Malls' tenants were up 15 per cent in the second quarter, compared to the same period in 2019. The increase in sales during the first half of this year was largely driven by an increase in average spending per visitor, which rose 59 per cent from the same period in 2019, the company said.
"Each retail destination has welcomed a remarkable number of UAE residents, as well as tourists, as visitors now feel more confident about returning to malls for shopping, dining and leisure experiences. Dining outlets across the malls experienced a significant pickup in sales over the Ramadan and Eid periods," Emaar Malls said.
Occupancy levels across Emaar Malls' assets, including The Dubai Mall, Dubai Marina Mall, the Gold & Diamond Park, Souk Al Bahar and its community retail centres remained at 91 per cent, indicating a steady recovery in footfall.
The company said it plans to open its Dubai Hills Mall in the first quarter of 2022. The mall will have up to 600 outlets and a gross leasable area of 2 million square feet (185,806 square metres).
Earlier this year, the boards of Emaar Properties and Emaar Malls recommended a merger of the two companies to create a stronger group to ride out coronavirus-induced headwinds.
The malls' unit will continue to develop a portfolio of retail assets while Emaar Properties will remain listed on the DFM, the companies said at that time.