Dubai – MENA Herald: The Middle East and North Africa’s leading shopping mall, retail and leisure pioneer, Majid Al Futtaim, has today unveiled a strategic development plan that will see the company increase its total investment in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by AED 30 billion by 2026, taking its total investment in the country to AED 48 billion. The investments, which reaffirm the company’s long-standing commitment to its home market, include both new projects and the expansion of existing assets. The plan will create more than 170,000 direct and indirect job opportunities.

As part of its new investment plan for the UAE, Majid Al Futtaim will develop 10 new state-of-the-art shopping malls under its powerful City Centre brand. This will include a new landmark regional mall in Dubai, as part of a 740,000 sqm mixed-use residential, retail, hospitality, commercial and leisure community. It will also include the company’s first super-regional mall in Sharjah, which will be adjacent to its existing Al Zahia master-planned community. In addition, Majid Al Futtaim will take its integrated retail-tainment model to Abu Dhabi for the first time, starting with the development of a community mall in Masdar City. The company’s new malls will further strengthen its position as the gateway of choice for some of the world’s most renowned brands to enter or expand in the UAE.

In line with its strategy to keep assets fresh, relevant and best in class, Majid Al Futtaim will also undertake six expansions to its existing malls, including major extensions to City Centre Ajman and City Centre Me’aisem, which will turn them into regional malls. Combining all new developments and expansions, the company will increase the total retail space in its mall network in the UAE from 725,000 sqm to 1,500,000 sqm. Majid Al Futtaim will also expand its portfolio of world-class hotels with six new developments across sites including Mall of the Emirates, City Centre Mirdif, and its planned mixed-use community in Dubai. This will bring the company’s total number of keys operated to 4,800.

The new investment plan will also see Majid Al Futtaim introduce new pioneering cinema experiences, family entertainment centres, advanced healthcare clinics, sought after fashion brands and innovative food and beverage concepts across the UAE. In addition, the company will expand its consumer finance business and introduce ten new Carrefour hypermarkets and 30 new Carrefour supermarkets, bringing the convenience of high quality produce, wide variety and low prices to more people across the emirates.

Alain Bejjani, Chief Executive Officer at Majid Al Futtaim – Holding, said: “For more than two decades, driven by our vision to create great moments for everyone, everyday, we have continually transformed the face of shopping, entertainment and leisure both here in the UAE and across the MENA region. In doing so, we have contributed to Dubai and the UAE becoming among the top global tourist and retail destinations, enhanced the lifestyle of their residents and delivered nearly 200,000 jobs. With today’s investment plan, which is closely aligned to the government’s vision for the future, we will take our impact to the next level. Not only will we create hundreds of thousands of additional jobs, we will support Dubai and the UAE in becoming the world’s best retail-tainment destinations and deliver more life-changing experiences through seamless online and offline offerings.”

Majid Al Futtaim remains committed to its BBB credit rating and these projects are expected to be funded in line with its prudent and proactive financial management approach. They will see the company’s presence in the UAE reach two master-planned communities, 19 shopping malls, 16 hotels, 101 Carrefour hypermarkets and supermarkets, 28 cinemas, 38 leisure and entertainment outlets, 86 fashion stores and 26 healthcare clinics upon completion.