Senior Executives Discuss Resilience of the U.A.E. Retail Sector

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November 9, 2020

Senior executives from Al Tayer Motors, Majid Al Futtaim, and Mohebi Logistics elaborated on the transformation, recovery, and resilience of the U.A.E. retail sector during a webinar hosted by the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council that is part of its “Back to Business” series. Please click here to view a recording of the videoconference.

This webinar, which took place on November 9th 2020, featured ​distinguished executives from elite U.A.E. companies active in the retail sector: Mr. Ashok Khanna, Chief Operating Officer, Al Tayer Motors; Mr Fuad Sharaf, Managing Director of U.A.E. Shopping Malls, Majid Al Futtaim Properties; and Mr. Phil Showering, Chief Operating Officer, Mohebi Logistics.

In their opening remarks, the panelists reviewed their current operations in the U.A.E. and future operation plans in a post Covid-19 environment. The speakers underlined how they remain committed to delivering ​the stellar customer service ​that has differentiated them from their peers. The speakers also all praised the U.A.E. government’s response to Covid-19, noting the government’s clear regulations, proactive measures, robust testing, and collaboration with the private sector.

Mr. Khanna highlighted how Al Tayer Motors​, one of the U.A.E.’s leading automobile dealerships, was well-positioned at the outset of the pandemic because it had already been “extremely future focused” and had a number of digital initiatives underway. He remarked that Al Tayer Motors has adopted new technologies to become “even more efficient” and noted that some of the steps they have taken during the pandemic “will become a permanent feature of how we operate.” He quoted Benjamin Franklin’s saying that “Out of adversity comes opportunity.”

Mr. Sharaf discussed ​the reopening of Majid Al Futtaim’s 27 shopping malls in the region, including the Mall of the Emirates, ​home of Ski Dubai​. He spoke about how Majid Al Futtaim has supported tenants through rent relief as well as new digital initiatives. Moreover, he discussed ​the company’s “belief in the market” and outlined how the company is “still expanding” as it prepares for the upcoming opening of new malls. ​

Mr. Showering detailed the diverse activities of Mohebi Logistics and how ​this 85-year-old Emirati company​ has flourished despite the pandemic. Mr. Showering noted how he was struck by “the speed with which we all adapted” to the pandemic. Moreover, he spoke of the “amazing opportunity” for new entrants to the Middle East market.

Following the panelists​’ remarks, ​Business Council President Danny Sebright moderated a question and answer session with the panelists ​during which they walked through the new customer experience and potential partnership opportunities as well as the importance of internet security and protecting customer data. Moreover, they discussed what technologies and innovations will change the future of the industry, well after the end of the pandemic.

The video call was attended by executives from leading American and Emirati companies in several business verticals as well as by U.S. and U.A.E. officials in both countries.

For more information about the Business Council’s work in the retail sector or its Back to Business webinar series, please contact Mary Zuccarello, at mzuccarello@usuaebusiness.org