Abdul Aziz Mohammed Al Rabban, Co-founder, Place Vendôme; and Chairman and Managing Director, Business Trading Company: Interview

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 Abdul Aziz Mohammed Al Rabban, Co-founder, Place Vendôme; and Chairman and Managing Director, Business Trading Company

Interview:  Abdul Aziz Mohammed Al Rabban

How can Qatar’s retail sector maximise returns from the 2022 FIFA World Cup?

ABDUL AZIZ MOHAMMED AL RABBAN: The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be a key opportunity for retailers, and they should work to maximise returns from the event. Qatar is expecting around 1.2m visitors for the competition, which means that prior to, during and after the event there will be ample room to reach new consumers. It will be necessary for industry stakeholders, as well as public and private entities in the tourism industry, to collaborate towards this end. The more we work together, the greater the returns will be for Qatar’s economy in 2022 and beyond.

There are several strategies that can be followed in order for the retail sector to reach its full potential within the context of the competition. These include adjusting prices to make them more appealing to a wide variety of shoppers, as well as adding value to make the entire shopping experience more memorable. Tenants are also involved in this context, as they will implement their own strategies to capitalise on the opportunities stemming from the event.

In the end, all players in the retail sector will need to work together to cater for the needs and demands of our visitors. This will ensure that they remember their visit to Qatar positively, and more importantly, decide to come back to the country in the future.

What does the opening of Place Vendôme signal about opportunities in Qatar’s retail sector in the post-pandemic recovery phase?

AL RABBAN: The opening of Place Vendôme is a testament to the growth opportunities in Qatar’s retail sector, particularly in the luxury segment. While construction was delayed during the pandemic, Place Vendôme opened its doors in April 2022. It is critical for retailers to innovate and offer something new and different to customers. We need to upgrade the experience of shopping, and provide new services and entertainment options to cater for rapidly changing demands. In this vein, Place Vendôme was conceived to provide new options in design, tenant mix and lifestyle offerings. It is vital to understand not only current and future customer demands, but also the challenges faced by tenants to provide them with the necessary tools and mechanisms to ensure that their businesses thrive.

To what extent do you expect pandemic-related changes in consumer behaviour patterns will become permanent trends?

AL RABBAN: The pandemic caused several changes in customer behaviour and demand. It accelerated the growth of e-commerce, and retailers need to adapt to this by providing additional options for customers to upgrade their experience when they visit a brick-and-mortar store, among other strategies. Retailers cannot continue to offer the same as before. Instead, they need to make visits more memorable, with entertainment offerings, varied food and beverage vendors, and healthy lifestyle options. The ultimate purpose of retailers is to ensure that visitors enjoy their shopping experience.

How will increased awareness about sustainability affect the retail sector?

AL RABBAN: The world is moving towards the increased adoption of environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards across all sectors of the economy; retail is no exception. Indeed, a shift to sustainability is something that all industry stakeholders are looking to implement. It is a continuous process that evolves on a daily basis, and requires investing in technology to better adapt business operations and increase companies’ growth potential. ESG standards have been a central pillar of the development of Place Vendôme. For example, green energy systems have been installed at the mall.

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