The retail apocalypse is happening globally. It’s the closure of the shopping malls as we know it due to their over expansion, rising rent, low profits and bankruptcies. However, Al Qana offers a totally new physical proposition, by curating experiences to the new generation consumer.
Since the global financial crisis, the closure of under-performing anchor stores in malls has resulted in declining foot traffic and small retailers shutting their doors. Also, the dot-com boom for e-commerce has contributed to a major shift in consumer expenditure on fashion, electronic, and other household items. The current decline isn’t the end of the world though; it’s a natural progression with new opportunities.
The recent A.T. Kearney report “The Future of Shopping Centers” suggested that there are two kinds of futures, one you inherit and one you design. Al Qana has had the chance to design its own future as a lifestyle center, providing consumers with a place to find inspiration, education, entertainment and socialize.
Oliver Chen, an equity research analyst at Cowen and Company, has coined the three Cs of future retail: Convenience, Curation and Culture. Al Qana embraces them all with its user-focused design.
1. Convenience is highly desired by consumers as lifestyles become quicker, work hours more challenging and suburbs denser. People feel stretched and search ease, simplicity and utility. Surprisingly, physical convenience stores remain e-commerce proof. Consumers are increasing foot traffic by making more frequent, urgent needs-based shopping trips. The strategically located community area in Al Qana will respond to client demand, offering everything at shoppers’ fingertips. The tenant-mix will include a large-scale supermarket, restaurants and cafes, convenience stores, services and a variety of essential retail shops.
2. Curation of the client experience is the key to retail sustainability. Future generations will demand experiences to be curated to them and entertainment is king of this mix. According to management consulting firm McKinsey, entertainment expenditure has grown 1.5 times faster than overall personal-consumption spending in 2018 and is set to continue. The consumer behavior of Abu Dhabi residents and tourists is no different. Al Qana will prosper due to its multiple activity offerings, adapted to young and old, surrounded by five star hotels and national attractions (i.e. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque).
3. Culture needs to be fostered in future malls, for people want to live a better, more joyful and fulfilled lives. The AT Kearney report that these future ‘Consumer Engagement Spaces’ will allow them to engage, connect, seek out experiences, reaffirm values and relate to brands on a personal level. Therefore transactions will be a by-product of community socialization and engagement. This is exactly what Al Qana was designed to offer - encouraging social interaction, balanced lifestyles and contributing to residents’ and visitors’ happiness. All facilities are to enhance the lives of those in the immediate community, in other emirates and internationally.
By creating a long-term community project that will benefit residents and tourists alike, Al Qana will spread Abu Dhabi’s warm hospitality and UAE values globally and we’re pretty sure you’re going to love it.