Sunday, August 07, 2011
15


It has finally been confirmed: Waitrose will be opening at The Wave's retail area before the end of the year, and in the mean-time, a temporary Al Fair will be opening at The Wave. The most recent newsletter from the people at The Wave has confirmed this, as well as a few other retailers set to open up there.

I wonder what this will do to Markez Al Bhaja? Marks and Sparks is moving to MCC, Al Fair will surely become less frequented, the Coffee Bean & Tea leaf wil now be impacted by Costa Coffee, and lets face it, MAB mall is dying a death, I wonder if they'll get something new to bring in more shoppers?

In similar news, the Muscat Grand Mall (opposite Lulu in ghubra) is set to open "before the end of the year" (I've heard that one before) with Carrefour confirmed as the anchor store for the mall. It's a win-win for Majid Al Futtaim I guess, because they get to directly compete with LuLu's without having to build a location, I suspect they're rather pleased with themselves over their 4th store location in the Sultanate. 

So far I've not been able to get a retail map of the new mall, if you have one please share it with us!

More soon.

le fin.

15 comments:

ynotoman said...

Markaz al Bhaja failed to 'lift off' from the start , its anchor stores lacked the dynamism to compensate for a range of other shops that would have been better in Seeb's souq.
M&S isnt the 1st major outlet to close there - so I suspect that the 'mall' will become much like Al Harthy whose school report could read - failed to live up to its glittering potential.
However - will Waitrose be any better than Matrah Cold Stores were? after all Spinneys sold that (now Al Fair) to jump out of Oman

Anonymous said...

Just to correct a couple of things:

Spinneys Dubai continue to own Al Fair 100% - they bought it from Muttrah Cold Stores about 10 years ago.

The small Al Fair store which is to open on the 1st September at The Wave is a temporary set up, but will trade for about 2 years until the main shopping centre opens at The Wave in 2013. As part of the agreement to open Waitrose at that time, Spinneys have had to agree to operate the small Al Fair store in the interim. As you'll see, it's tiny but at least gives residents at The Wave a corner shop for now.

The Waitrose, when it eventuially opens is only going to be 1500 sqm, far too small in my opinion.

Whether Al Fair decide to continue to trade at Markaz Al Bahja after this time remains to be seen.

As for Carrefour at the Grand Mall, I think they've got their work cut out quite honestly. By their standards it's a very small store, like a Carrefour Express, and surely the whole point of that is to be able to get in and get out quickly. But if you have to park in a multi-storey and walk 5 minutes just to get to the supermarket, it kind of defeats the object.

Of course the new Carrefour store was supposed to have been a Waitrose, but they pulled out when it became clear that the mall has been unable to attract enough credible tenants. From what I've heard, the likes of Alshaya and Al Tayer are not going to open any of their brands, and are waiting for the LuLu extension next door.

Retailing in Oman continues to be a tough business.

bahman2000 said...

i like your favicon.ico

muscati said...

Heard as Anonymous above about Al Shaya and Al Tayer choosing to not to open any of their brands in Muscat Grand Mall. It lead to some local chains also choosing not to open their because of the bad tenant mix. Seems to have lead the Tilal Management to focus on increasing the F&B focus of the mall so there will be a larger than usual percentage of restaurants. Now they say they're focusing on bringing international brands that aren't already there. Let's see.

All I care about is the new movie theater, even though it's gonna be operated by the same apes that run the others.

Jamilla Camel said...

I will be happy for any grocery store to open at the Wave!

The Linoleum Surfer said...

What bothers me about Tilal Al Khuwair is the traffic. That tiny roundabout is already a huge choke point at busy times, and the tiny single-track road off one exit now has to serve the new mall, the other Tilal al Khuwair elements (offices etc), and Lulu. Even with just Lulu that road is frequently inadequate.

Making MGM a leisure/F&B-based ball rather than going head to head with Lulu makes business sense, but means more net addition to the traffic volume. I wonder how Lulu will take to the traffic from there using their car park as a short cut to the East-bound highway? I'm taking a guess they might try to find a way to block it. And how long will the tailbacks around the roundabout be now? The end of Khuwair street by the Shell petrol station will also be hit as people try to fund more ways to get in and out.

This is a real planning nightmare. Avoid Bawsher/Ghubra roundabouts from next year, for a decade or so...

muscati said...

Linoleum Surfer-It's actually been planned. The roundabout is going and being turned into a signal intersection this year. There's a new road connecting the area to the Muscat Expressway so traffic will have exits to either Sultan Qaboos Highway or Muscat Expressway. There's a road coming also behind the Tilal Complex connecting to the junction going to the MEW. And finally, further on down the line in the next few years, the junction under Ghubra flyover itself is being redeveloped to ease the movement of traffic coming from Bausher going towards November 18 road (a tunnel possibly?). I haven't seen any of these, but I know two developers other than Tilal who are planning major projects on both side of that junction and both told me independently that they've seen the plans at the municipality.

muscati said...

Forgot to add, the real clusterfuck is going to be in 2013 when Lulu's mall opens. It's going to be the largest mall in Oman with approx 120K m2 of retail space. Whatever it is that municipality has planned, it better be ready by then.

The Linoleum Surfer said...

That's great that there are plans - just it might have been better to schedule their completion to coincide with planning for a new mall, rather than start planning as it nears completion. Having the mall open while the construction (and inevitable roadworks) begin is ridiculous.

What it boils down to again is planning. Someone gave planning permission for a new mall, then a couple of years into construction someone else has to decide to think about a new road layout. It stinks, really. A cluster indeed.

Where is the new Lulu mall coming, dare I ask?!

muscati said...

Lulu's mall will be an extension on both sides of the existing Ghubra Lulu building. It's going to be the entire area in front of the parking from the road in front of Pepsi till the petrol station. The hypermarket will become the center of the mall.

jexxi said...

Is a Debenhams going to open in the Grand Mall? Seems like I read that somewhere a year or so ago. (What stores do Al Shaya and Al Tayer control?)

And, have any of you knowledgeable people heard any rumors/news of an IKEA store ever being built in Muscat? Just hoping...

Sythe said...

Jexxi -

Al Shaya and Al Tayer control a lot of the brands you see in QCC and MCC malls, if you google you will find their respective websites and therein you can find their brands - they don't have a simple list I could copy and paste which is why I didnt do so, sorry.

IKEA were rumored to be interested in MGM a long time ago but I think that was just a muscat rumor. The next noise on Ikea was a catalog outlet store at The Wave, which never took place, and then the final rumor was that IKEA were going to open in the Blue City.

None of these will happen. MAF (the people behind The Wave and the QCC and MCC malls, would presumably be the ones to bring IKEA to Oman, but it's not happening yet).

jexxi said...

Thanks Sythe - I should have looked for the websites. Debenhams is one of Al Shaya's group, so maybe we won't be getting one here! -sigh -

Why is retailing so poor in Muscat? Could it be that big international stores are restricted or discouraged in order to protect local retailers? Are there just not enough interested local consumers? Why are so many of Muscat's "major" shopping areas/buildings so old and run down? It seems that decrepit old buildings get reused over and over again, when modern new ones should be built instead. But then, some of the new construction is not well-built or sensibly planned either, especially access and parking.

Why hasn't the Al-Futtaim group built an IKEA store and ACE Hardware in Oman? They would be very popular with expats and locals, though they would require a lot of land for the showrooms/warehouses and the large parking lot, as well as easy access. I think they would have to be built outside of the present major shopping areas - maybe off the new expressway. Is land just too expensive or restricted, or are local business regulations, contracts, taxes, etc., unfavorable? Also, could goods for an Ikea store, for example, be shipped directly here to Muscat - are the port facilities adequate - or would everything have to come through the UAE, as it seems so many other imports do?

I wish I understood the local business scene better.

Anonymous said...

A couple of points:
IKEA was never going to The Wave. MAF is a investor only
ACE and IKEA are controlled by the other half of Al Futtaim, not MAF. That's why they are not in MCC and QCC, which are controlled by MAF.....but now M&S is now moving to MCC it would appear the Al Futtaim brothers have reconciled their former differences.
Hopefully, IKEA and / or ACE will now come to the (currently suspended) retail park that was planned for the empty plot next to the MCC Car Park. But I guess this will be a sometime away. Could really do with a ACE down here.

Jawad Sultan said...

Thanks

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