Muscat: The Mall of Oman, City Centre Sohar and City Centre Sur will now be run by Omani nationals, a senior official at Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) said.
Husam Al Mandhari, senior mall manager for City Centre Muscat said for the last 15 years, Majid Al Futtaim has been identifying, mentoring and employing Omani nationals to contribute to making the retail sector more sustainable. “Skills development in the creation, building, operations, and management of world-class shopping malls and lifestyle destinations has ensured a long-term role for Omani nationals throughout Majid Al Futtaim’s assets in Oman.”
“As the company continues to invest millions of Omani rials in building three new malls, all of which will be run by Omani nationals, and maintaining its existing destinations, we will expand the opportunities for our existing Omani colleagues to move to the new stages of their careers, while recruiting bright new talent from Oman’s universities,” he said.
Majid Al Futtaim is currently celebrating City Centre Muscat’s 15th anniversary.
When asked whether falling oil prices have affected their business, Al Mandhari said the company continues to make progress in the region. “This is because of our integrated business model, balanced portfolio across the region, tight focus on customer experience and a broad customer base, which protects us during short-term economic fluctuations. These attributes also allow us to benefit from the long-term trend of rising retail spending across our key markets, which is primarily driven by population growth.”
Revealing the latest on Majid Al Futtaim’s other projects in Oman, he said the company has three new projects in the pipeline. “Estimated at OMR275 million, the Mall of Oman will be the largest integrated retail, leisure and entertainment destination in the Sultanate when it opens in 2020. City Centre Sohar (estimated at OMR45 million), will open in 2018 and City Centre Sur (estimated at OMR15 million), will open in 2017.”
Majid Al Futtaim’s investments are anticipated to create more than 42,000 direct and indirect job opportunities in the Sultanate during the next five years. While the Mall of Oman will generate 29,000 direct and indirect job opportunities, the City Centre Sur and Sohar will generate 3,500 and 8,000 employment opportunities, respectively.
Regarding City Centre Muscat’s contribution to the Sultanate’s retail industry, Al Mandhari said: “Since its opening, this mall has set the standard for retail, leisure, and dining experiences in the Sultanate. Over the past 15 years we have introduced countless international brands to Oman, hosted unforgettable family experiences and created great moments for our customers.”
About the brands making their entrance in the Omani market with City Centre Muscat, he said: “Since 2001, City Centre Muscat has offered a gateway for many international retailers entering Oman, with an impressive list of first-to-Oman international brands, including: Victoria’s Secret, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, Bath & Body Works, Virgin Megastore, Bershka, American Eagle Outfitters, Koton, F&F fashion accessories, New Look, Guess Accessories, Lovisa, and handmade cosmetics Lush, Shake Shack, Kosebaci and Ahwak to name a few.”
City Centre Muscat is the first and largest lifestyle shopping destination in Oman and attracts more than 10 million visitors annually. Al Mandhari also stated that the company sees growth potential in all the locations.
“Overall, we are seeing a shift in spending patterns as the population becomes wealthier, while an increasing number of high-net-worth individuals has led to the growth of luxury and fashion brands and the emergence of niche market concepts, such high-end retail centres.”
“Although spending patterns have been shifting as lifestyles change, the Omani consumer price index shows that a large portion of household spending still goes towards food and related products, a trend reflected in the steady growth of hypermarkets,