The Rebirth of Retail: Mall of QatarNovember 3, 2020
One of the largest groups in Qatar, Power International Holding has managed the game-changing Mall of Qatar since March. Here, RLI sits down with PIH’s Vice Chairman and Group CEO Ramez Al-Khayyat to discuss this unique destination, how it has fared in these difficult times and what its plans are for the future.
Opposite the Al Rayyan stadium – one of the host venues of the 2022 FIFA World Cup – on the way from Doha to the desert landscapes, lies one of my country’s gems: the Mall of Qatar.
As a shopping destination, the elegant mall is unrivalled, with over 415 stores spread over 429,190 m2. However, Mall of Qatar is so much more – it is an entertainment hotspot, hosting the world’s first resident troupe; there’s a 360 degree rotating festival stage; a five star ‘Collection by Hilton’ hotel; and a 19 screen megaplex, featuring the largest IMAX Laser 3D projection system known to man.
Our company, Power International Holding (PIH), has been awarded the management of Mall of Qatar since March of this year, but we want to take what is already a wonderful venue and make it nothing short of astonishing. This is the perfect time to make these improvements, while we await the increased tourism that will come after the covid-19 pandemic has been quashed.
Our strategy comprises of three ‘pillars’, namely creating an entertainment destination, ensuring digital transformation, and creating an even better shopping experience.
A recent Ipsos survey of 25,000 people across 25 countries showed that more than half of people shopped online for convenience, but still visit malls for the overall experience. They are no longer shopping only destinations, which is why we have planned a series of international shows that will see the 360 degree stage used seven days a week by a group of more than 100 international artists.
We are also about to welcome 10 new restaurants, adding to the existing 86, resulting in what we believe is an unmatched variety of the best food and beverage outlets in the world. We are also preparing to expand the number of family entertainment centres from four to six.
We cannot, of course, ignore the digital transformation that is going on around us. Instead, Mall of Qatar will embrace this change through a comprehensive ecosystem of digital shopping experience, including a customer data platform that allows us to engage with customers and a generous loyalty programme that will encourage frequent visits, and an innovative e-commerce platform to complement the experience. We are working with the top players in digital transformation from Google to Antavo, Adobe and SAP.
But we must not forget what made the mall so fantastic in the first place – the shops themselves. We are in the process of introducing nearly 50 new, premium, and casual brands, while pop up stores and designer shows will be features of the mall from now on.
• A residential city, Grand Zone Residence, is being built beside the Mall of Qatar. The residential city will consist of 1,000 total units, with a built-up area of 219,584 m2. It will also include a school that will accommodate 700 students and a theatre of 300 seats and a gymnasium. Construction is underway and is expected to be completed first quarter of 2022.
• Accessibility: The city metro, Qatar Rail’s green line, takes passengers directly to the mall. Qatar Rail will re-open in 2 weeks as part of Qatar’s four-phase plan of gradually reopening public and commercial spaces.
These are, for sure, big changes. But the only way to build on success is to constantly evolve and the way PIH manages that change will make sure Mall of Qatar remains an icon of the Arabian peninsula for decades to come.
This article was originally published in Retail & Leisure International.