Dubai's Emaar Malls' profit falls by two-thirds during COVID-19 pandemic

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Dubai’s Emaar Malls’ net profit for 2020 was less than one third of what it was in 2019, according to preliminary results posted to the Dubai Financial Market on Sunday.

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The Dubai Mall owner’s net profit for 2020, a year in which retail was hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, was $191,562 (AED703,609) — down from $622,273 (AED2,285,611) in 2019.

Founder Mohammed Alabbar remains confident despite the battering the company has taken throughout the pandemic.

“Emaar Malls has emerged from 2020 in a much stronger position, having faced some of the most challenging business conditions in a generation,” he said, citing past achievements and “strategic investments in a digital future.”

While profits dropped significantly, revenue for 2020 was down by slightly less. In 2019, the company brought in a total of $1,272,257 (AED4,673,002); in 2020 revenue fell to $954,958 (AED3,507,561).

One indicator of the company’s resilience was its tenant occupancy rate, which remained at 91 percent.

Mohammed Alabbar went on to say: “We continue to see guests returning to our malls in greater numbers, and we expect this positive trend to continue in the year ahead, strengthened by the support we receive from our leaders in Dubai and the UAE, and their world-leading rollout of vaccines in the country.”

Emaar Malls halted several projects this year, including new malls at the Expo 2020 site and Dubai Hills.

A new chief executive, Rajiv Suri, was appointed in September but ended up resigning only four months later.

The UAE’s wider economy has been hard hit by the pandemic, seeing an estimated 7.7 percent contraction in GDP for 2020.

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