ABU DHABI // The House of Fraser department store in the World Trade Centre mall in Abu Dhabi has closed and been replaced with a discount shop.
The luxury outlet was the British chain’s first outside the UK and Ireland when it opened more than two years ago.
It ended its contract with the mall this month and has been replaced by DTA Outlet, which sells discounted clothing and accessories – and, for the time being, some surplus merchandise from House of Fraser.
The mall declined to comment on what prompted the end of its partnership with House of Fraser.
“We are close to announcing details of new exciting anchor tenants,” said a statement. “World Trade Centre’s strategy for 2016 will ensure that this space is utilised by new tenants to best serve our customers. Contracts are currently being negotiated with new partners and information will be provided when appropriate.”
Covering an area of more than 9,200 square metres over four floors, House of Fraser opened to much fanfare in October 2013.
It offered more than 170 brands, many of which were new to the UAE, VIP services such as personal shoppers and the emirate’s first Hello Kitty beauty spa.
In June 2015, House of Fraser opened a second store at Yas Mall, which is still in operation and currently offering discounts of up to 75 per cent off.
Employees at the mall said House of Fraser was replaced by DTA Outlet the first week of April and that most of the House of Fraser merchandise was moved to the Yas Mall store. DTA Outlet only occupies the ground level and first floor of the former House of Fraser. The store space in the other two floors have been closed to the public.
Shopper Fatima Saad said she was disappointed that House of Fraser had moved out but admitted she rarely shopped there.
“It was too expensive,” said Mrs Saad, who was visiting DTW Outlet for a second time this week. “Nobody came to the shop unless they had a special offer or a discount.”
A Filipino salesman who worked in a nearby shop said the new outlet store was attracting double the shoppers and that the mall’s the foot traffic has increased since a new food court with more fast-food options opened last month.
The World Trade Centre said it was planning a number of other “transformations” this year. On Wednesday, it announced the opening of The Hub, a collection of five licensed restaurants on levels four, five and six.
“We are adopting a two-fold approach to delivering an enhanced retail experience for customers,” said a statement. “Firstly, we will appeal to a wider, more youthful audience who are seeking new social destinations. Secondly, our focus is on serving the local community with convenient lifestyle choices.”