Doha, Qatar: Qatar’s retail market has witnessed a steady rise during the fourth quarter (Q4) of last year. Some of the country’s main malls have indicated that footfall and spending have remained consistent last year.

Cushman & Wakefield, in its fourth quarter (Q4) 2023 Real Estate Market Review noted that Valero Mall became an addition to Doha’s retail landscape in December, providing 24-hour shopping in Lusail’s Marina District. The largest addition to the retail and F&B sector in 2023 was West Walk – a mixed use development of restaurants and retail outlets in Al Waab.

The research indicates that there is more than 1.7 million square metres (sqm) of leasable floor space in Qatar’s main organised retail malls (20,000 sqm +). There is also more than 400,000 sqm of leasable space in open air retail/F&B destinations, including The Pearl, Souq Waqif, Souq Al Wakra, Msheireb Downtown, Katara, Doha Port, Lusail Boulevard, and West Walk.

Some of Qatar’s main malls have indicated that footfall and spending have remained consistent last year. The increase in supply over recent years has, however, seen both footfall and occupancy drop in some of Doha’s older malls, as properties compete for a finite number of retailers and F&B operators. While there is an increasing disparity between malls, Cushman and Wakefield estimate that there is now an overall vacancy rate of more than 20 percent (by unit) in Qatar’s 20 largest malls.

In an increasingly competitive market, retail experts in Qatar are emphasising the requirement to expand the entertainment and leisure provisions in malls to attract shoppers. With a surplus of accommodation in many locations, many vacant areas, often in upper floor locations, are being considered for new entertainment concepts.

The report further said, over the past 12 months, some of these locations have been utilised by gyms, fitness clubs and clinics, taking large floorplates at discounted rents. While there has been demand for retail space in the busier malls, a number of retailers have closed their doors in recent months due to a challenging trading environment. Outside of prime locations, rent-free incentives, fit-out contributions, and turnover rent arrangements are all on offer from most developments to entice new retail tenants.

Headline rents for line units in Doha’s prime malls remain between QR200 and QR250 per sqm per month, exclusive of service charges. Line unit rents in many secondary malls is often below QR200 per sqm per month.

Anchor tenants typically pay rents of between QR60 and QR150 per sqm per month. Retail showrooms lease for between QR80 and QR150 per sqm per month, while convenience retail outlets in secondary locations such as strip malls usually lease for between QR5,000 and QR10,000 per month, depending on the unit size.

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