Rising rents helped Emaar Malls' first-quarter profit to jump by 22 per cent to Dh529 million, despite headwinds facing the wider retail sector.
Rental income grew by 14 per cent to Dh833m.
Emaar Malls, which gained shareholder approval for a 10 per cent dividend at its annual general meeting last week, also said that occupancy levels remained robust, standing at about 96 per cent across its malls.
Its main asset remains The Dubai Mall, which houses about 5.4 million square feet of the 5.8 million sq ft within Emaar Malls’ current portfolio. A further 1 million sq ft is being added through an extension of The Dubai Mall, and there are plans for 120 million sq ft of retail space at the new Dubai Creek Harbour district being developed through a joint venture with Dubai Holding.
Further details on this project, which will include a huge new retail precinct linked to the Dubai Creek tower, are to be revealed in the next few weeks.
“The retail sector has traditionally been one of the strongest contributors to the economy of Dubai,” said Mohamed Alabbar, the chairman of Emaar Malls. “Emaar Malls is adding significant value to the economy through our assets that surpass industry averages in occupancy and visitor arrivals.”
A report published by JLL this month found that Dubai’s retail supply pipeline increased by 235,000 sq metres during the first quarter of this year, thanks largely to the completion of phase two of Meraas Holding’s City Walks project. New mall space was also added in Al Wasl and Umm Suqeim.
It said that both rents and occupancy levels have held up over the quarter, with retail occupancy standing at 92 per cent of overall space.
Increased tourism numbers helped to shore up spending, but the strengthening dollar, lower oil prices and a decline in trade had all weighed down market sentiment among spenders.
“Our outlook for the retail sector is positive for most part of this year, despite a flat performance during the first quarter,” said Craig Plumb, JLL Mena’s head of research.
Follow The National's Business section on Twitter