Majid Al Futtaim: How mall mogul's vision created 29 shopping centres across region

The group has been a pioneer in bringing the unique mall concept, thanks to the vision of the group’s late founder


Waheed Abbas

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Photo: File
Photo: File

Published: Sun 19 Dec 2021, 3:43 PM

When you think of shopping malls, the first name that comes to mind is Majid Al Futtaim group's vast empire of shopping destinations that have made a mark in the region’s retail sector landscape.

The group has been a pioneer in bringing the unique mall concept that dominates the region, thanks to the vision of the group’s late founder Majid Al Futtaim, who passed away in Dubai on Friday.

The retail giant now owns and operates 29 malls across the Middle East and Africa region with a gross leasable area of over one million square metres, and more than 178 million visitors per annum. It also works with the world’s top 3,000-plus brands that occupy its malls.

With the launch of City Centre Deira in 1995, Majid Al Futtaim revolutionised the retail sector and become the first choice for the brand-conscious shoppers of the UAE. It currently has a number of mega malls and hypermarkets under City Centre, My City Centre and Matajer brands. It also operates flagship projects Mall of the Emirates and Mall of Egypt.

Below are some of the Majid Al Futtaim’s popular retail destinations across the region:

City Centre Deira: Opened in 1995, City Centre Deira is the region’s first flagship shopping mall to house international brands, dining outlets and entertainment. Spread over 123,000 square metres, over 22 million people visit the mall’s 371 outlets each year to shop, eat and play.


City Centre Sharjah: Attracting more than 11 million visitors each year, City Centre Sharjah boasts 120 international lifestyle, electronic, fashion and convenience retail brands. Opened in 2001, the mall is spread over 3,800 square metres, housing 138 outlets.

Mall of the Emirates: Opened in 2005, the flagship project of the group receives more than 40 million visitors a year. The mall is also home to 545 outlets and 96 restaurants and cafes, including flagship stores for some of the world’s biggest fashion brands. It’s direct access to two 5-star hotels – Kempinski and Sheraton, as well as Dubai Metro, Ski Dubai and the VOX Cinemas.

City Centre Beirut is spread over 62,000 square metres of gross leasable area and attracts over nine million shoppers a year. Opened in 2013, it houses 200 stores over 30 brands introduced for the first time in Lebanon, including Carrefour, VOX Cinemas, Magic Planet, and numerous food and beverage outlets.

Majid Al Futtaim opened City Centre Muscat was in 2001, which was the first and the largest shopping destination in Oman. Home to 200 outlets, it attracts more than 10.2 million shoppers a year.

Majid Al Futtaim entered Bahrain under its City Centre brand in 2008. With a gross leasable area of 155,000 square metres and 340 stores including 60 dining options, it is the largest shopping, leisure and entertainment destination in the kingdom. It’s also flanked by the 5-star Westin Hotel City Centre Bahrain and Le Meridien Hotel City Centre Bahrain.

Mall of Egypt is also another landmark project of Dubai’s retail major. With 356 stores, the mall is spread across 165,000 square metres of gross leasable area. It’s home to Ski Egypt, a 21 multi-screen VOX Cinemas complex and Magic Planet.

The group’s another popular shopping, lifestyle and entertainment destination in Dubai is City Centre Mirdif. Since its opening in 2010, it attracts 24 million visitors every year. Home to 465 outlets, it’s home to some of the world’s unique brands including iFly Dubai, Little Explorers, Yalla! Bowling among others.

Majid Al Futtaim also has a presence in the Egyptian city of Alexandria where it operates the largest shopping mall of the city. The mall is spread over 63,000 square metres and is visited by 13 million visitors every year.

Matajer Malls, a neighbourhood retail concept, is a joint venture between Majid Al Futtaim and Sharjah Holding. It now operates four Matajer malls with 15,600 square metres of gross leasable area. Located in Al Quoz, Al Khan, Al Juraina and Al Mergab, around 6.2 million people visit the malls every year.

Majid Al Futtaim opened its City Centre brand in Fujairah in 2012, which is spread over 34,000 square metres gross leasable area and is visited by 3.5 million visitors a year. It’s almost home to the emirate’s largest Carrefour hypermarket.

City Centre Ajman is one of the most popular shopping destinations of the northern emirate. Spread over 30,000 square metres, 10.5 million people visit the mall’s 70 stores every year.

In Egypt, MAF also operates two shopping malls in Cairo. Since its opening in 2002, Maadi mall attracts 10.5 million shoppers a year. While Almaza, which was opened in 2019, is spread over 100,000 square metres.

The group’s Al Shindagha mall caters for the residents of Bur Dubai. Spanned across 24,500 square metres, the mall is visited by millions of people since its opening in 2016 every year.

My City Centre is MAF’s neighbourhood retail malls concept tailored to meet the needs of the region’s growing residential communities. Currently, five My City Centre malls operate in different vicinities with a combined gross leasable area of 21,200 square metres.

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