Dubai's Majid Al Futtaim (MAF), which develops and operates shopping malls across the Middle East, said overall spending in the UAE increased by 22% in the first half (H1) of 2022 from the same period last year.

In its latest "State of the UAE Retail Economy" report, the property and retail conglomerate said the number of visitors to its shopping malls rose by 15% in H1 compared with the same period last year.

Retail spending grew 16% while there was a 31% growth in non-retail sectors, it added.

In the first half of 2022, the retail general category was up by 15% from the same period in 2021, contributing a 44% growth to the overall retail economy. Spending increased on food and beverages (15%), hotels (14%) and pharmacy and health (14%).

The hypermarket and supermarket sector grew by 12% year-on-year, but consumer purchases have shifted towards lower value and higher frequency, with the average transaction value down by 12% compared with the first half of 2021.

The research showed that that omnichannel shopping remains consumers’ preferred way to buy, with e-commerce spending increasing by 41% in the first half of this year from the same period in 2021 and online sales now accounting for 11% of the overall retail economy.

Privately-held Majid Al Futtaim has 28 shopping centres, including in the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The company holds the exclusive franchise to the French hypermarket brand Carrefour across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and rights for major brands including Abercrombie & Fitch, Lego, Hollister and Lululemon.

(Writing by Brinda Darasha; editing by Cleofe Maceda)