Quarterly Report Qatar Q1 2021: Retail Market Overview
New demand for retail space remains low due to the ongoing lockdown measures
Following the lifting of most COVID-related restrictions in Q4, the retail sector performed relatively well in Doha in the early months of 2021; however, following an increase in cases throughout March, it is anticipated that the government may re-introduce some restrictions in April.
While footfall increased in Qatar’s retail malls in Q1, uncertainty about the duration of lockdown measures from country to country and the accelerating global trend towards online shopping means that many international retail chains have put real-estate acquisition plans on hold over the past 12 months. This is mainly affecting take-up in retail malls, with vacancy rates increasing in recent months. While many of Qatar’s malls continue to perform well, C&W estimate that overall occupancy rates for organised retail have fallen to approximately 80%.
Overall supply in Doha’s 20 largest organised retail malls now totals over 1.3 million sq m following the recent opening of the Galleria at Msheireb. The total leasable area of organised retail accommodation throughout Qatar, including neighbourhood malls, has now surpassed 1.5 million sq m.
In addition to organised retail malls, outdoor destinations including Souq Waqif, Katara Cultural Village, Medina Centrale, and La Croisette provide more than 230,000 sq m of leasable space.
Rents for ‘in-line’ retail stores in Doha’s main organised malls typically range from QAR 200 to QAR 320 per sq m month. Lower rents are available to anchor stores and larger outlets. While headline rents have not significantly decreased in many of the main malls throughout, many retailers have been offered temporary discounts or rent holidays during the past year to cushion the impact of the pandemic.
Outside of the main malls, high street and local convenience retail units are typically available for between QAR 100 and QAR 180 per sq m, depending on the size of unit and the level of footfall. Premiums typically apply for units with licences to sell food and beverages.
Al Furjan markets are a government-led initiative to provide local retail conveniences within residential communities. These units are available at discounted monthly rents to small independent businesses.
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