Quarterly Report Qatar Q2 2021: Retail Market Overview
Retailer demand focused on developments with high footfall
The phased easing of COVID-19 restrictions has resulted in an encouraging return to pre-lockdown footfall levels in most retail malls. While social distancing measures and reduced capacity remain a consideration, retailers in Qatar generally feel that the most challenging period is behind them, and a brighter outlook is emerging.
New demand for retail accommodation remains subdued, as retailers retain a cautious approach with COVID-19 in mind; however, recent evidence suggests that several retailers are looking to secure space in some of Doha’s prime retail developments where strong footfall can be guaranteed.
The recent reconfiguration of City Centre Mall saw the delivery of a number of ‘big-box’ units, which have enjoyed strong demand from tenants. Research from Cushman & Wakefield shows that there is still reasonable demand for retail units of between 1,000 sq m and 2,000 sq m in prime retail locations.
The supply of retail mall accommodation in Qatar is now in excess of 1.5 million sq m. The delivery of new supply has been delayed over the past 18 months as COVID-19 has impacted on proposed opening dates. La Galleria at Msheireb remains the only new development to open its doors in 2021; however, Place Vendome and Doha Mall are anticipated to open before year-end.
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, with retailers in a strong position to negotiate favourable terms for large units.
Many retailers were offered temporary discounts or rent holidays over the past year to cushion the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of these incentives have dissipated in recent months as footfall levels recover and trading returns to ‘pre-COVID’ levels.
Outside of the main malls, high street and local convenience retail units are typically available for between QAR 90 and QAR 180 per sq m per month, depending on the size of unit and the level of footfall. Premiums typically apply for units with licences to sell food and beverages. Showroom accommodation on some of Doha’s busiest traffic corridors can usually be secured for between QAR 90 and QAR 130 per sq m per month.
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