Lav­ish new malls at­tract flocks of peo­ple

Malls also at­tract win­dow shop­pers, cu­ri­ous about newly im­ported items and lat­est fash­ions

The Kurdish Globe - - NATIONAL - By Salih Wal­ad­bagi

New shop­ping malls emerg­ing across the Kur­dish cap­i­tal of Er­bil al­lure many lo­cal and for­eign peo­ple. At the same time, lat­est fash­ions and new global prod­ucts at­tract many peo­ple to the sim­ple de­lights of win­dow shop­ping.

Dara Azad, a 28-year old lo­cal Kur­dish busi­ness­man, comes with his fam­ily to make pur­chases at Ma­jidi Mall, one of the lux­ury shop­ping malls sit­u­ated in Er­bil. He wants to buy some new brand of clothes and a so­phis­ti­cated watch from Swiss Time, “I think I should buy a dis­tinc­tive and ele­gant watch.”

Zaid Amin, 30, has been work­ing as a watch re­tailer since his child­hood. Wealth is on the rise and the stan­dard of liv­ing is im­prov­ing in Kur­dis­tan.

"We have very ex­pen­sive watches. For ex­am­ple, Rolex is a renowned brand name and peo­ple will pay $10,000 for a watch. It is a deluxe watch," Amin told The Kur­dish Globe.

Amin said Nas­dak Cen­ter is Swiss Time's li­censed agent in Er­bil and of­fi­cially au­tho­rized to sell five well-known brands - Tis­sot, Certina, Cer­roti, Rado and Longines.

What ex­cites peo­ple the most is the fact that renowned brands have in­ter­na­tional war­ranty, and peo­ple can re­pair any de­fec­tive items and get free post-sale ser­vices any­where in the world, with the pre­sen­ta­tion of a valid war­ranty.

"Cus­tomers can go to our of­fi­cial agen­cies, any­where in the world, to have their watches re­paired dur­ing the war­ranty pe­riod," said Amin.

"We have some watches stud­ded with di­a­monds with a case made of gold. The up­per mid­dle class and the elite, as well as watch col­lec­tors, buy th­ese watches," said Amin.

Some peo­ple, es­pe­cially younger men, visit Fam­ily Mall to stroll around and spend some time with their friends. They can- not af­ford th­ese ex­pen­sive items. "I see many young men look­ing at the watches in the show­case units but they do not have enough money to buy a watch," said Amin. He says his least ex­pen­sive watch costs $150, which older men seem to pre­fer. His most ex­pen­sive watch costs more than $50,000. "We also have some watches that work 300 me­ters un­der water," said Amin.

The cen­ter also of­fers dis­counts for its reg­u­lar cus­tomers of 10 to to 15 per­cent of each pur­chase.

Nas­dak Cen­ter, with a li­cense to op­er­ate the Swiss Time fran­chise in Er­bil, has of­f­ci­ailly opened its fifth store in Tablo Mall.

There are sev­eral per­fume stores in Fam­ily Mall in Er­bil. "Wear­ing per­fume gives plea­sure, not only be­cause it smells nice, but also be­cause per­fume cre­ates an aura around the wearer and shows the con­fi­dence and per­son­al­ity of the per­son who wears it," said Jamila Ra­soul, 24.

Farzand Shakir, a per­fume re­tailer, says his store sells per­fume brands from around the world. "We bring all the scents di­rectly from Aus­tria, but we don't have an of­fi­cial li­cense for any of them," said Shakir. The most ex­pen­sive fra­grance costs $180, Creed 1760, while the least ex­pen­sive one costs $11.

The au­tonomous Kur­dis­tan Re­gion, spared the bru­tual vi­o­lence and at­tack that have gripped the rest of Iraq since the US in­va­sion of 2003, is wit­ness­ing an un­prece­dented growth in all as­pects of its econ­omy, in­clud­ing its re­tail sec­tor. In­ter­na­tional in­vest­ments have reached more than $16 bil­lion (Dh58 bil­lion), ac­cord­ing to the Kur­dis­tan In­vest­ment Board (KIB) re­ports.

Triska Mah­mood, 28, says the glam­orous per­fume bot­tles catch the eye and reels you into buy­ing a per­fume with­out really know­ing if the scent is right. "You need to try it and see if it works for you," she ad­vises. "But the prices are high. An em­ployee earn­ing $500 can­not buy a per­fume that costs $180."

Er­bil has been a draw among Iraqis and tourists alike. In fact, be­sides its own peo­ple, with a pop­u­la­tion of nearly two mil­lion, and Arab peo­ple from other parts of Iraq, Ira­ni­ans, Turks and peo­ple from across the world now come to the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion. Ac­cord­ing to some Ira­ni­ans who had been in Dubai a few months ago, Er­bil’s shop­ping malls are surely com­pet­ing with those in Dubai.

Con­struc­tion work on the Ma­jidi Mall started at the be­gin­ning of 2007 and cost more than US$60 mil­lion. Fam­ily Mall presents a new type of shop­ping for Er­bil. It is a large shop­ping com­plex on Er­bil's 100M road, part of the Fam­ily Fun Park com­plex, which is well known among peo­ple. You can choose from around 350 in­ter­na­tional brands at the mall.

There are sim­i­lar mall projects in Er­bil like Mega Mall akin to that of UAE’s Shar­jah, Tablo Mall nearby Fran­cois Hariri Sta­dium and sev­eral more malls un­der con­struc­tion. The Nish­ti­man (Kur­dish for "Na­tional") Mall in down­town Er­bil will be the largest shop­ping mall in the world with more than 8,000 shops when con­struc­tion ends on all of its phases, says a source from its man­age­ment.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Iraq

© PressReader. All rights reserved.