Dubai’s colossal Mall of the Emirates was named the ‘Retail Destination of the Year’ at last night’s World Retail Awards.The mall – which is home to more than 440 retail brands, not to mention an indoor ski slope and a five star hotel – beat off competition from Galeries Lafayette in France and Bluewater in the UK to clinch the award at last night’s first-ever World Retail Congress in Barcelona.The 6.5 million square foot mall - which is owned by Majid Al Futtaim - opened in September 2005 and features names such as Carrefour, Debenhams, Harvey Nichols and Borders. It is currently the largest shopping mall in the Middle East, although the Dubai Mall, which is under construction by Emaar, and Mall of Arabia will take the top spots upon completion in late 2008 or early 2009.
“Voted for by a Grand Jury that includes many of the world’s top retailers and senior industry experts, the Retail Destination of the Year category has been designed to celebrate the street, mall or city that demonstrates the most attractive retail mix,” said a statement issued on behalf of the World Retail Congress.“Mall of the Emirates deserves the recognition of ‘Retail Destination of the year’. It is an example of a centre which has not only taken us to new heights in terms of size, but also in terms of the quality of its retail and leisure offer,” said the WRC’s Ian McGarrigle.The ‘Retail Destination of the Year’ award was sponsored by UAE property giant Aldar. Other winners include model Kate Moss, who was named “Consumer Icon of the Year” in honour of her massive influence on retail trends. Inditex – which runs over 3,000 stores worldwide and owns brands including Zara and Massimo Dutti – was named Retailer of the Year, while the Swedish home furnishing giant Ikea bagged the Multi Market Retailer of the Year award.The other category winners included Sainsbury’s (Marketing Campaign of the year), Marks & Spencer (Responsible Retailer of the Year), Vodafone with Fujitsu and Q-MATIC (Best Use of Technology), American Girl Place (Innovation Format of the Year) and Pantaloon Retail (Emerging Market Retailer).