Qatar will soon have more cozy shopping malls and commercial complexes with at least nine such facilities costing a whopping $5.5 billion (QR20bn) planned in the next three years.
Most of the new facilities will be built in Gharafa, Kharatiyat, Wakra and Al Khor and some will be based in the new township to be developed on the location of the existing Doha International Airport, according to Al Sharq.
The UAE-based Al Futaim Group has already announced plans to open its first shopping mall in Qatar, Doha Festival City, which is expected to cost QR6bn. Industry sources expect the facility to be ready in two to three years.
Ezdan will build three malls in Gharafa, Wakra and Wukair under its new arm Ezdan Mall Company to be launched very soon, said the daily.
The North Gate Mall, a luxury shopping facility in Khartiyat is expected to be completed by next year, while work on the Marina Mall would start this year. The Doha Mall in Mesaimeer costing QR2.5bn and the Tawar Mall are among the other projects in the pipeline.
Industry experts believe that there is still space for big shopping malls in Qatar, with a booming market and growing population.
"Qatar still do not have many big shopping malls. Over the past three years, only one such facility was opened in Al Khor," said a senior official of a leading hypermarket chain.
"The market will become more vibrant with opening of more commercial facilities," he added.
The success of a new facility depends on many factors, mainly the location, the way it is managed and the nature of its business.
"Professionalism in management is a very important factor. There are many shopping facilities in key locations that are struggling to win customers," he said.
The increase in the number of facilities may not necessarily bring the prices down since the market in Qatar is already competitive.
"Commodity prices in Qatar are mainly dependent on the prices in international market. Local factors have only limited impact on the prices," he said.