The shopping mall is also set to be the first shopping centre in the Middle East to achieve a gold rating for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the developer said. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Mirdif City Centre, the latest retail offering by Majid Al Futtaim Properties, opened its doors Tuesday with 350 of its 430 stores operating.

The opening of Majid Al Futtaim's 10th mall in the region and third in Dubai will be celebrated with a week of entertainment events including daily shows, parades and performances.

"Mirdif is in line with the company's strategy to develop large destination malls in the three most important trade areas of Dubai Deira City Centre in the heart of Dubai, Mall of the Emirates in the southern new Dubai area and now Mirdif City Centre to service north Dubai and the northern emirates. All three malls can now provide UAE residents and visitors with the widest range of retailing, leisure and lifestyles choices found in any great city in the world," Peter Walichnowski, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Properties, said at a press conference.

In pictures: 10 iconic malls in Dubai

According to Abdul Wahid Al Ulama, executive vice-chairman of Retailcorp, the mall's position geographically will work well for it. "It's a very new, exciting mall and it has success written all over it. It caters to an audience in this area, so the geographical location is fantastic and access is easy."

According to Walich-nowski the new mall is estimated to have created over 16,000 jobs in the development and construction process and 5,500 permanent jobs in the mall complex.

The mall aims to serve a population of 450,000 within a 10-kilometre radius along with the communities across the rest of Dubai and other emirates and tourist footfall.

Retailers mark debut

Making their first appearance in the UAE will be the US brand Pottery Barn, UK fashion label Miss Selfridge, and Australian home-furnishings Freedom Furniture, Decathlon and Office Depot.

Mirdif City Centre is also set to be the first shopping centre in the Middle East to achieve a gold rating for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

The mall offers over 75 restaurants and cafes with Tiffinbites and P.F. Changs making their debut in the region and other food favourites such as Butcher Shop and Grill, Mango Tree Bistro and Pinkberry.

Edutainment facility

Majid Al Futtaim Leisure has also opened Aquaplay, a water-based edutainment facility featuring water games and rides aimed at children aged between two and eight.

At the other end of the mall will be Playnation, an entertainment zone for children and adults with interactive leisure concepts such as iFLY Dubai an indoor skydiving centre, Soccer Circus, a fully interactive football attraction, Cite des Enfants, an interactive learning zone for children, and Yalla! Bowling, a 12-lane cosmic tenpin bowling alley.

"Mirdif is about families. It's a community mall so it was important for us to make our leisure offering as key to the community as possible," Craig Hart, vice-president of Majid Al Futtaim Leisure, told Gulf News.

Walichnowski, who is targeting 20 million visitations a year for the centre is confident that as consumer confidence picks up, the footfall in the mall will increase along with a pick-up in sales.

"The year 2009 was a difficult year for the retail industry. Sales in our two malls dipped below those of 2008 but our foot traffic did not. This demonstrates that our malls are still attracting a loyal customer base and that visitations to malls in Dubai are still very high. In fact the numbers from DSF were better than that in 2009, which would indicate that consumer sentiment is returning and the worst is over," he said.

The group's future plans include 10 malls across the Middle East and North Africa in the next five to ten years.

"We aim to replicate the success which we've had in Dubai in the rest of the region," Walichnowski said.

Timeline of Dubai malls

June 10, 1980 Dubai's spectacular shopping cum-office-cum-apartment complexes, Al Ghurair Centre is officially opened by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Minister of Finance and Industry

November, 1990 The 120,000 sq metre Al Wafi Shopping Mall is officially opened. The two-storey mall will house a variety of outlets aimed at providing a complete shopping experience under one roof.

March 01, 1992 Al Manal Centre, the only shopping mall in Dubai meant exclusively for women and families, was inaugurated by Shaikh Butti Bin Maktoum Al Maktoum.

May 14, 1992 Bur Juman Centre, Dubai's trendy new shopping mall, opens its doors to the public. The complex is a five-storey structure incorporating a spectacular post-modern exterior design. The complex will house 310 stores on three retail levels.

November 30, 1995 Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance and Industry inaugurated the Deira City Centre in Dubai, which offers customers the convenience of all-day shopping.

October 28, 2002 General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and UAE Defence Minister opened Mercato Shopping Mall on the Jumeirah Beach Road in Dubai

April 14, 2005 Ibn Battuta Mall, the region's largest themed shopping facility, opened its doors to shoppers. It was inaugurated by General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Defence Minister.

September 30, 2005 Mall of the Emirates, the largest shopping mall outside North America, is open for business. The mall size is equivalent to 73 football pitches, a huge indoor ski slope called Ski Dubai, a 14-screen Cinestar cinema, Magic Planet, which will be the largest indoor family entertainment centre in Dubai.

November 04, 2008 The world’s largest shopping mall, the Dubai Mall opens the doors to the public. Dubai Mall have over 1,200 retail outlets and 160 food and beverage outlets spread over a gross leasable area of 3.77 million sq ft.

March 16, 2010 Mirdif City Centre opened its doors to publice with over 350 out of its 430 stores running. The Dh3 billion mall is located near Uptown Mirdif, just off Emirates road and spreads across 196,000 square metres

Compiled by Gulf News Archives

Do you live in Mirdif? Have you found the traffic has increased since the opening of Mirdif City Centre? Have you visited the new mall? Do you think shopping malls are part of the Dubai culture?