Quarterly Report Qatar Q1 2020: Retail Market Overview
Many landlords extend rent relief to their tenants
as retail outlets are forced to close
On March 15th, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry ordered
retail malls to close, with only supermarkets and pharmacies
allowed to remain open.
Regulations for restaurants, cafés, and standalone shops have
been gradually tightening and refining since then, with some
F&B outlets continuing to operate for delivery/take-out.
To deal with the unprecedented crisis, support measures have
been announced by various government and private entities,
varying from three to six months’ rent relief. Some landlords
have granted their F&B tenants relief from rent and service/utility
charges until further notice (Aspire Zone, Katara Cultural Village,
Msheireb Properties). The Private Engineering Office, which
manages Souq Waqif, Al Wakrah Souq and other traditional
markets, have exempted tenants from rent for four months.
Elsewhere, Qatari Diar exempted its F&B tenants in Lusail
Marina and Barwa Commercial Avenue from rent for three
months effective from April, with UDC announced similar relief
for all their tenants. Mall of Qatar and Ezdan Malls extended rent
relief to all their tenants for three months starting from March,
while Doha Festival City Mall offered the same support to eligible
tenants effective from April.
Both Barwa Real Estate Group and Woqod have postponed or
exempted all their tenants from rent for three months starting
from April. Other private landlords have followed suit, sometimes
postponing rent rather than waiving completely.
While rent relief has been welcomed by tenants throughout the
market, other operating costs cannot be serviced by sales
revenues this time, which is raising questions about the number
of retailers that may struggle to remain open in a prolonged
One of the retail segments which has been performing well is
the supermarket sector and certain parts of the F&B sector. In
recent weeks, Al Meera opened at The Mall – an established
retail development on D-Ring Road. Omni-channel F&B outlets
have been able to manage the transition better than others,
while the other retailers and malls have been adjusting to enable
their online/phone ordering sales channels.
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