Dubai To Host World Retail Congress 2016

27 Jan 2016

10th WRC to be held in April 2016 - decision affirms the Emirate’s status as a global retail hub

Tommy Hilfiger, Jo Malone and All Saints CEO confirmed as key note speakers

Dubai, UAE: The 10th World Retail Congress (WRC), the world’s most exclusive retail event for senior executives, will be held in Dubai for the first time between 12-14 April 2016, under the Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

2016 is the first year the Congress is being hosted by a city outside Europe, reaffirming Dubai’s position as a market leader for the global retail sector and as a pioneer in retail innovation. Retail remains a key pillar of the Emirate’s economy, with sales expected to reach AED 160bn this year, and 400,000 square metres of additional retail space expected to be completed by the end of the year across Dubai, according to real estate consultancy JLL.

In partnership with Majid Al Futtaim and the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, WRC 2016 will be held under the theme “Attracting and Engaging the Modern Customer”. It will bring together over 1,000 leading retailers and industry experts to showcase the region’s potential in the sector and discuss topics such as disruption and innovation within retail, how to effectively engage with customers, and what’s next for the sector, both within the region and globally.

Tommy Hilfiger, Principle Designer, The Tommy Hilfiger Group, Jo Malone, Founder, Jo Malone, and William Kim, CEO, All Saints are just a few of the high profile speakers confirmed to take part, alongside leading local retail experts H.E. Hamad Buamim, President and CEO, Dubai Chamber, Alain Beijjani, CEO, Majid Al Futtaim – Holding and Patrick Chalhoub, CEO, Chalhoub Group.

Commenting, Ian McGarrigle, Chairman, World Retail Congress, said;

“We are delighted to be hosting the 10th edition of the World Retail Congress in Dubai, which has firmly established itself as one of the world’s leading retail destinations, and is the perfect location for the Congress’ first time outside Europe. This year’s programme and inspirational speakers will cover some of the most important topics and trends affecting the retail industry, and I am confident that the Congress will provide an excellent platform for local, regional and international retailers to shine the spotlight on innovation across this dynamic sector. The Congress also provides an opportunity for the industry to work together to discuss ways to pioneer retail development both within the Middle East and around the world.”

Dubai Chamber has been instrumental in bringing the Congress to Dubai as part of its strategy to drive investment into Dubai and MENA markets, while boosting Dubai’s position to the world’s number one retail destination. At the same time, the Chamber aims to bring international events, such as the World Retail Congress to Dubai in order to promote Dubai’s position as a world class MICE destination and also to provide businesses here a platform to network and find new opportunities.

According to H.E Hamad Buamim, President & CEO, Dubai Chamber, “We believe that these events are an opportunity for businesses/organizations from around the world to know what Dubai has to offer – its strategic location, access to 2 billion consumers in the region and a stable and safe economy. The retail and wholesale trade in the UAE is an important sector and it accounts for more than 11% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and for close to 30% of Dubai’s GDP. Retailing in the UAE is expected to reach AED 200 billion by 2017, growing by a good 5% on average each year. Dubai was ranked as the second most important retail destination globally, by CBRE in its 2015 report, and is well-positioned to host the Congress as this landmark event is the biggest convention of the retail industry’s leading professionals and Dubai Chamber will leave no stone unturned to make this event a success.”

Alain Bejjani, Chief Executive Officer of Majid Al Futtaim – Holding said: “It’s a great honour for Majid Al Futtaim to partner with the World Retail Congress and Dubai Chamber of Commerce on this year’s event. By working together, we believe we can make the World Retail Congress 2016 the most engaging, inspiring and thought provoking to-date. It will certainly be a pleasure to welcome fellow retail leaders from across the world to Dubai. We look forward to hearing their thoughts on best practice, trends affecting our industry, and potential opportunities for collaboration. We also look forward to sharing our vision, approach and story, which started over 20 years ago with the opening of Dubai’s first ever integrated retail, leisure and entertainment experience, and continues to help shape the retail environment in MENA to this day.”

WRC 2015, held in Rome in September 2015, bought together attendees from over 65 countries, including influential speakers and experts in the world of retail such as Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web and James Curleigh, President at the Levi’s Brand. Major research was also launched at The Congress, including The DNA of the future retail CEO, research conducted by the WRC and Green Park and The Future of Retail, a report led by Planet Retail and the Oxford Saïd Business School.