Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi’s latest retail destination, opened its doors to visitors on Wednesday Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi’s latest retail destination, opened its doors to visitors on Wednesday morning.

The mall was inaugurated by Shaikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Advisor and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, during a ceremony on Tuesday evening.

The 2.5 million square foot mall, developed by Aldar Properties, houses over 370 stores, 60 of which are international restaurants such as Abu Dhabi’s first The Cheesecake Factory, Angelina Café, Pie Face, and the world’s biggest Rollercoaster Restaurant, among others.

Yas Mall also includes the UAE’s first Lego Store, Joe Fresh, standalone Under Armour store, and two-level Go Sports store, as well as Abu Dhabi’s first Hamley’s, Hollister, Brook Brothers, and Geant Hypermarket, among other brands.

“The retail sector in particular has grown significantly, and now Abu Dhabi enjoys the largest retail development pipeline across the GCC. We are very pleased to open Yas Mall today, which is set to add significant value to Abu Dhabi’s many leisure and entertainment attractions,” said Abubaker Al Khoori, chairman of Aldar.

Meanwhile, Colin Beaton, managing director of Limelight Creative Services, a retail consultancy, said he expected a lot of footfall at the mall in its first few days of opening.

“I think there’s demand in Abu Dhabi for a regional destination mall that competes with the big malls in Dubai. I’m not sure if retailers will see sales [during the opening weekend] because people will be looking around more than they will be buying, so I think footfall will be strong, and sales will be medium,” Beaton told Gulf News.

He added that he expected the majority of visitors to be consultants and professionals such as architects, and retail designers who are interested in touring the mall. He expected the rest of the visitors to be Abu Dhabi-based residents.

“I don’t think that you will find that many consumers driving from Dubai to Abu Dhabi to see the mall on the opening weekend. I think expectations are that it will be busy with a lot of people, and parking may be a challenge. I think Dubai residents will wait until the media buzz dies out a little bit,” Beaton said.

Spanning three floors, Yas Mall features 83 unique-concept stores, which further enhance the mall’s retail offerings of local and international brands.

In an earlier interview with Gulf News, Talal Al Dhiyebi, executive director of asset management at Aldar Properties, said the mall is expected to attract nearly 20 million people in its first year of operation alone.