Emaar Malls quarterly profit edges higher

Emaar Malls, the company behind The Dubai Mall, said yesterday its fourth-quarter net profit rose 4 per cent, missing analysts’ expectations, as visitor numbers remained flat last year.

Net profit in the three months to December 31 rose to Dh452 million from Dh435m a year earlier, Emaar Malls said.

Sico Bahrain had forecast a net profit of Dh468.95m and Egyptian investment bank EFG Hermes had pencilled in net profit of Dh466.95, according to Reuters. Fourth-quarter revenue increased 2 per cent to Dh835m from Dh821m a year earlier.

The company said that total footfall at its malls hit 125 million last year, slightly ahead of the 124 million visits reported in 2015. Visitor numbers to The Dubai Mall remained flat at 80 million for the third year in a row, and occupancy levels were also unchanged at about 96 per cent of its gross leasable area.

Mohamed Alabbar, the chairman of Emaar Malls and Emaar Properties, said: “In today’s digital age, we are focused on leveraging advanced technologies to ensure that our visitors have memorable experiences at our malls. We will continue to introduce new innovations, strengthened further with digital strategies to ensure that our malls stay ahead of the curve.”

He added that it was pressing ahead with plans to expand its footprint with new malls under development at Dubai Hills Estate and Dubai Creek Harbour. The latter will be linked to a new tower, 100 metres taller than Burj Khalifa, which has been designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. Other community mall projects are being planned within existing developments, including a new 245,000 square feet Springs Village mall.

Speaking atJanuary’s Dubai Annual Market Update, the UAE head of consultancy at broker CBRE Matthew Green said that the Dubai retail market had been through a “period of relatively low supply” between 2010-16, but that this is set to change, with 900,000 sq metres of space due to be added to an existing 3 million sq metres between 2017-19.

Moreover, he said that a number of “game changers” will add significantly more space from 2020 onwards through the delivery of substantial malls at developments like Dubai Creek Harbour, Meydan One, Deira Islands and Jumeirah Central.

“The retail sector in Dubai will see a transformation in the coming years,” he said.

“From 2020 onwards, we are likely to see some of the real big destination malls come in, and that could be the point where Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates actually have a bigger challenge than they do at the moment.”


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