Shoppers stroll in Dubai Mall, one of the world's largest shopping malls, in this February 27, 2009 file photo. The homages to Pharaonic Egypt, ice rinks and shark-filled aquariums in Dubai's many malls still attract crowds, but retail in the Gulf Arab boomtown is looking fragile as luxury-lovers turn into bargain-hunters. Picture taken February 27, 2009.  To match feature DUBAI-MALLS/    REUTERS/Steve Crisp/Files  (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES BUSINESS SOCIETY) *** Local Caption ***  SEC10_DUBAI-MALLS-_0406_11.JPG
Retailers in the UAE say they are struggling to survive as their rents rise up to 20 per cent.

UAE shop rents climb as retail sales fall



Retailers in the UAE say they are struggling to survive as their rents rise up to 20 per cent, at a time when residential rates are decreasing and shoppers are staying at home. Duncan McLellan, the general manager of Dubai Holding Group, which holds the local franchise for brands such as Zara, said turnover has fallen by as much as 35 per cent but mall rents, a retailer's biggest expense, have risen between 5 per cent and 20 per cent upon renewal. "We're seeing quite significant decreases in our sales," Mr McLellan said. "While everybody is trying to be more tight on their budgets, their staffing, salary increases - all of these areas which you can control - the one area you can't control is your rent." A survey by the property consultancy CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) this month showed that retail rents in the first quarter fell in Dubai and Abu Dhabi for the first time in at least 10 years. Shopping centre rents fell 10 per cent in Dubai to Dh450 (US$122.51) a square foot, while rents in Abu Dhabi were static at Dh371 a sq ft. High street rents fell in the first quarter, year on year, by 11 per cent in Dubai to Dh400 a sq ft, and by 3.5 per cent in Abu Dhabi to Dh280 a sq ft. Mr McLellan said that while sales in Abu Dhabi had stayed relatively stable, sales in Dubai had taken a major hit. Yet, many retailers were still having their rents raised and were paying between 15 and 25 per cent of their sales towards rent, he added, more than the general standard of between 10 and 15 per cent. In some cases in newer, incomplete developments, retailers were spending between 35 and 75 per cent of their sales revenues on rent, Mr McLellan said. Keith Flanagan, the general manager of Al Ghurair Retail, which holds the local franchise for brands such as Springfield, said rents have risen between 5 and 20 per cent upon renewal. Closing these stores could lead to bigger losses, because of the capital investment in inventory and building, Mr Flanagan said. Marwan Eskandrani, the business development manager in the GCC for Kamal Osman Jamjoom Group, which has brands such as Mikyajy, said rents could be renewed for one year at the regulated 5 per cent rent increase. But Mr Eskandrani said that without a guaranteed renewal after that time, retailers were at risk of losing the money they put into the store. Mr Flanagan said sales had dropped by as much as 35 per cent in the first half of this year, especially in shopping centres, the tenant retailers of which have lost visitors to the 1.12 million square metre Dubai Mall. If landlords did not reduce retail rents in line with global trends, shop closures would increase, he said. As more and more retailers pulled out, it was less and less attractive for shoppers to go to the mall, he said. "It's not good for the retailers that are still locked in to those malls and can't get out." However, Mark Morris-Jones, CBRE's senior director for retail and industrial property in MENA, said rates that were agreed to five or 10 years ago might be lower than the current market rate and need to be increased. "There are rents under market, and rents over market," Mr Morris-Jones said. "Historical rents, where they are low, they will increase." He said the cost of a new store had dropped from a year ago, when the economic downturn had not yet reached the Emirates. However, there were variations depending on the location and conditions in previous lease agreements. Majid Al Futtaim Shopping Malls, the developer behind Mall of the Emirates, has said it did not plan to reduce rents at its malls. Shahram Shamsaee, the developer's senior vice president of retail, said sales were strong in the region compared with other economies, and rent rises might be required for contracts signed three or four years ago, which saw only minimal government-regulated increases in the retail sales boom. At MAF's malls, retailers were spending 7 per cent of sales on rent, he said. The developer of Dubai Mall, Emaar Malls Group, has said it would not amend its lease agreements. Craig Plumb, the head of research for Jones Lang LaSalle MENA, said it was only a matter of time before mall developers adjusted the rents. "It's logical it will happen but maybe it doesn't happen overnight," Mr Plumb said. "It takes a while for the market to adjust to the changing balance between the tenant and the owner, but once you see some vacancies in some of the centres, that's obviously going to detract from their ability to offer an attractive retail environment. "Therefore the owners will start to do more and support their existing tenants." aligaya@thenational.ae

Dengue fever symptoms
  • High fever
  • Intense pain behind your eyes
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen glands
  • Rash

If symptoms occur, they usually last for two-seven days

Bridgerton season three - part one

Directors: Various

Starring: Nicola Coughlan, Luke Newton, Jonathan Bailey

Rating: 3/5

The specs

Engine: 1.8-litre 4-cyl turbo
Power: 190hp at 5,200rpm
Torque: 320Nm from 1,800-5,000rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch auto
Fuel consumption: 6.7L/100km
Price: From Dh111,195
On sale: Now

How to get exposure to gold

Although you can buy gold easily on the Dubai markets, the problem with buying physical bars, coins or jewellery is that you then have storage, security and insurance issues.

A far easier option is to invest in a low-cost exchange traded fund (ETF) that invests in the precious metal instead, for example, ETFS Physical Gold (PHAU) and iShares Physical Gold (SGLN) both track physical gold. The VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF invests directly in mining companies.

Alternatively, BlackRock Gold & General seeks to achieve long-term capital growth primarily through an actively managed portfolio of gold mining, commodity and precious-metal related shares. Its largest portfolio holdings include gold miners Newcrest Mining, Barrick Gold Corp, Agnico Eagle Mines and the NewMont Goldcorp.

Brave investors could take on the added risk of buying individual gold mining stocks, many of which have performed wonderfully well lately.

London-listed Centamin is up more than 70 per cent in just three months, although in a sign of its volatility, it is down 5 per cent on two years ago. Trans-Siberian Gold, listed on London's alternative investment market (AIM) for small stocks, has seen its share price almost quadruple from 34p to 124p over the same period, but do not assume this kind of runaway growth can continue for long

However, buying individual equities like these is highly risky, as their share prices can crash just as quickly, which isn't what what you want from a supposedly safe haven.

RESULTS

5pm: Maiden | Dh80,000 |  1,600m
Winner: AF Al Moreeb, Tadhg O’Shea (jockey), Ernst Oertel (trainer)

5.30pm: Handicap |  Dh80,000 |  1,600m
Winner: AF Makerah, Adrie de Vries, Ernst Oertel

6pm: Handicap |  Dh80,000 |  2,200m
Winner: Hazeme, Richard Mullen, Jean de Roualle

6.30pm: Handicap |  Dh85,000 |  2,200m
Winner: AF Yatroq, Brett Doyle, Ernst Oertel

7pm: Shadwell Farm for Private Owners Handicap |  Dh70,000 |  2,200m
Winner: Nawwaf KB, Patrick Cosgrave, Helal Al Alawi

7.30pm: Handicap (TB) |  Dh100,000 |  1,600m
Winner: Treasured Times, Bernardo Pinheiro, Rashed Bouresly

CABINET OF CURIOSITIES EPISODE 1: LOT 36

Director: Guillermo del Toro
Stars: Tim Blake Nelson, Sebastian Roche, Elpidia Carrillo
Rating: 4/5

The specs

Engine: 2.3-litre 4cyl turbo
Power: 299hp at 5,500rpm
Torque: 420Nm at 2,750rpm
Transmission: 10-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 12.4L/100km
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh157,395 (XLS); Dh199,395 (Limited)

Company profile

Name: WallyGPT
Started: 2014
Founders: Saeid and Sami Hejazi
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Investment raised: $7.1 million
Number of staff: 20
Investment stage: Pre-seed round

Company Profile

Company name: myZoi
Started: 2021
Founders: Syed Ali, Christian Buchholz, Shanawaz Rouf, Arsalan Siddiqui, Nabid Hassan
Based: UAE
Number of staff: 37
Investment: Initial undisclosed funding from SC Ventures; second round of funding totalling $14 million from a consortium of SBI, a Japanese VC firm, and SC Venture

Our legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Euro 2020

Group A: Italy, Switzerland, Wales, Turkey 

Group B: Belgium, Russia, Denmark, Finland

Group C: Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, 
Georgia/Kosovo/Belarus/North Macedonia

Group D: England, Croatia, Czech Republic, 
Scotland/Israel/Norway/Serbia

Group E: Spain, Poland, Sweden, 
N.Ireland/Bosnia/Slovakia/Ireland

Group F: Germany, France, Portugal, 
Iceland/Romania/Bulgaria/Hungary

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

Bob Marley: One Love

Director: Reinaldo Marcus Green

Starring: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Lashana Lynch, James Norton

Rating: 2/5

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo

Power: 268hp at 5,600rpm

Torque: 380Nm at 4,800rpm

Transmission: CVT auto

Fuel consumption: 9.5L/100km

On sale: now

Price: from Dh195,000

Profile

Company name: Marefa Digital

Based: Dubai Multi Commodities Centre

Number of employees: seven

Sector: e-learning

Funding stage: Pre-seed funding of Dh1.5m in 2017 and an initial seed round of Dh2m in 2019

Investors: Friends and family 

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

Director: James Wan

Starring: Jason Mamoa, Patrick Wilson, Amber Heard, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II 

Rating: 2/5

SPEC SHEET: SAMSUNG GALAXY S24 ULTRA

Display: 6.8" quad-HD+ dynamic Amoled 2X, 3120 x 1440, 505ppi, HDR10+, 120Hz

Processor: 4nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, 64-bit octa-core

Memory: 12GB RAM

Storage: 256/512GB / 1TB

Platform: Android 14, One UI 6.1

Main camera: quad 200MP wide f/1.7 + 50MP periscope telephoto f/3.4 with 5x optical/10x optical quality zoom + 10MP telephoto 2.4 with 3x optical zoom + 12MP ultra-wide f/2.2; 100x Space Zoom; auto HDR, expert RAW

Video: 8K@24/30fps, 4K@30/60/120fps, full-HD@30/60/240fps, full-HD super slo-mo@960fps

Front camera: 12MP f/2.2

Battery: 5000mAh, fast wireless charging 2.0, Wireless PowerShare

Connectivity: 5G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC

I/O: USB-C; built-in Galaxy S Pen

Durability: IP68, up to 1.5m of freshwater up to 30 minutes; dust-resistant

SIM: Nano + nano / nano + eSIM / dual eSIM (varies in different markets)

Colours: Titanium black, titanium grey, titanium violet, titanium yellow

In the box: Galaxy S24 Ultra, USB-C-to-C cable

Price: Dh5,099 for 256GB, Dh5,599 for 512GB, Dh6,599 for 1TB

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Bharat

Director: Ali Abbas Zafar

Starring: Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Sunil Grover

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Company profile

Name: Belong
Based: Dubai
Founders: Michael Askew and Matthew Gaziano
Sector: Technology
Total funding: $3.5 million from crowd funding and angel investors
Number of employees:
12

What is an ETF?

An exchange traded fund is a type of investment fund that can be traded quickly and easily, just like stocks and shares. They come with no upfront costs aside from your brokerage's dealing charges and annual fees, which are far lower than on traditional mutual investment funds. Charges are as low as 0.03 per cent on one of the very cheapest (and most popular), Vanguard S&P 500 ETF, with the maximum around 0.75 per cent.

There is no fund manager deciding which stocks and other assets to invest in, instead they passively track their chosen index, country, region or commodity, regardless of whether it goes up or down.

The first ETF was launched as recently as 1993, but the sector boasted $5.78 billion in assets under management at the end of September as inflows hit record highs, according to the latest figures from ETFGI, a leading independent research and consultancy firm.

There are thousands to choose from, with the five largest providers BlackRock’s iShares, Vanguard, State Street Global Advisers, Deutsche Bank X-trackers and Invesco PowerShares.

While the best-known track major indices such as MSCI World, the S&P 500 and FTSE 100, you can also invest in specific countries or regions, large, medium or small companies, government bonds, gold, crude oil, cocoa, water, carbon, cattle, corn futures, currency shifts or even a stock market crash. 

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

MATCH INFO

What: 2006 World Cup quarter-final
When: July 1
Where: Gelsenkirchen Stadium, Gelsenkirchen, Germany

Result:
England 0 Portugal 0
(Portugal win 3-1 on penalties)

The biog

Favourite films: Casablanca and Lawrence of Arabia

Favourite books: Start with Why by Simon Sinek and Good to be Great by Jim Collins

Favourite dish: Grilled fish

Inspiration: Sheikh Zayed's visionary leadership taught me to embrace new challenges.

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

SPECS

Toyota land Cruiser 2020 5.7L VXR

Engine: 5.7-litre V8

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 362hp

Torque: 530Nm

Price: Dh329,000 (base model 4.0L EXR Dh215,900)

If you go…

Emirates launched a new daily service to Mexico City this week, flying via Barcelona from Dh3,995.

Emirati citizens are among 67 nationalities who do not require a visa to Mexico. Entry is granted on arrival for stays of up to 180 days. 

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

Company Profile

Company name: Yeepeey

Started: Soft launch in November, 2020

Founders: Sagar Chandiramani, Jatin Sharma and Monish Chandiramani

Based: Dubai

Industry: E-grocery

Initial investment: $150,000

Future plan: Raise $1.5m and enter Saudi Arabia next year

The specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cyl turbo

Power: 217hp at 5,750rpm

Torque: 300Nm at 1,900rpm

Transmission: eight-speed auto

Price: from Dh130,000

On sale: now

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside


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