Dubai: Nearly two years after Japanese bookstore Kinokuniya relocated to its new home in Dubai Mall, the cavernous space it vacated finally has a new tenant: Nike.
As Gulf News first reported in November 2017, the sportswear giant is set to open one of its largest stores in the world this year in the vast retail space once occupied by Kinokuniya.
In an emailed statement this afternoon, Nike confirmed that it would open its flagship Middle Eastern store in Dubai Mall.
The company told Gulf News that the “Nike Dubai store will be the largest store on one floor in the world, covering more than 30,000 square feet.”
It will also be the largest store anywhere in the Middle East and North Africa, they added.
While the company did not give an opening date for the store, two people familiar with the matter said it would begin trading in the second or third week of December this year.
The famous Nike swoosh logo, and the catchphrase “Just Do It”, both appeared last week on the white store front, which remains closed.
The two people asked not to be named because they were not authorised to speak publicly on the news.
Dubai Mall’s owner Emaar did not respond to a request for comment on the matter.
The original Nike store on the ground floor will stay open until the middle of 2019, when it will close to make way for a new food and beverage section opening adjacent to the ice rink, one of the people familiar with Emaar’s plans said.
The Jordan store, which sells the famous Air Jordan sneaker and other athletic wear in collaboration with basketball player Michael Jordan, is set to stay where it is, as is the Nike Golf store.
According to one person with knowledge of the footwear market in the UAE, Dubai Mall’s Air Jordan store is the brand’s highest grossing in the world.
“With specialist brands such as Lululemon continuing to grow, this space runs the risk of being underserviced within the region and the decision taken by Nike to bring one of their largest [store] concepts globally to Dubai Mall shows there is still strong sentiment within this sub-sector,” said Anthony Spary, associate director at retail and property consultancy CBRE.
With retail sales faltering in the US, the Oregon-based company has turned its attention to international markets, especially China, in recent years.