The prestigious three-day 10th World Retail Congress, being co-sponsored by Majid Al Futtaim and the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, got underway Tuesday in Madinat Jumeirah, marking the first time Dubai has served as the host nation for the event.
The elite gathering marks a milestone for the United Arab Emirates as a global retail sector anchor. With the theme of attracting and engaging today’s customer, the event is expected to draw over 1,000 industry leaders and retailers while highlighting the region’s opportunities.
“We are proud to have played a role in bringing the World Retail Congress to Dubai, our home market,” Majid Al Futtaim CEO Alain Bejjani said. “The importance of hosting it here for Dubai and the MENA region cannot be overstated. It provides local retailers and mall operators with the chance to showcase their innovation … and highlight the immense growth potential of the retail sector here.”
Targeted to senior executives, the meeting falls under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai.
World Retail Congress Chairman
Ian McGarrigle gave the opening addrres followed by a welcome from Dubai Chamber Chairman Majid Saif Al Ghurair.
“When deciding where to host our milestone 10th Congress, Dubai, one of the most important retail capitals of the world, was the clear choice,” McGarrigle said.
Scheduled speakers include Tommy Hilfiger of the Tommy Hilfiger Group, Jo Loves Founder Jo Malone and Premier Investments Chairman Solomon Lew, each representing large retail entities and all of whom were inducted into the 2016 World Retail Hall of Fame.
“The retail sector … forms a key part of our economic diversification plan and Vision 2021,” UAE Ministry for Economic Affairs Undersecretary Mohammed Ahmed Bin Abdulaziz Al Shehhi said. “The retail industry currently contributes 23 percent of total foreign direct investment inflows to the UAE, and we expect to see further growth … (making) the UAE an ideal place for doing business.”
Al Ghurair said the occasion is especially significant for Dubai because it marks the first time that the World Retail Congress is convening outside of Europe.