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Dubai Mall operator Majid Al Futtaim expects coronavirus vaccine to boost economy

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Dubai-based mall operator Majid Al Futtaim Holding LLC expects the rollout of vaccines to help shore up the economy in 2021, following a year that saw businesses battered by lockdowns in place to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

The global vaccination drive will help 2021 shape up as the year when “things get better," the company’s Chief Executive Officer Alain Bejjani said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. "We are going to see a much better comeback after the first quarter of next year," he said.

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Bejjani said that the UAE’s retail economy is now "coming back quite strongly" and by mid-2021 "we should be back to 2019 levels." Majid Al Futtaim had said in August its shopping malls business saw a drop in first-half revenue.

The United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is a part, had earlier this year shut malls and cinemas, Majid Al Futtaim’s main source of revenue. Built on trade and tourism in a region reliant on oil, Dubai was hardest hit in the Gulf Arab region as both industries stumbled amid the pandemic.

The UAE has been conducting trials on China’s state-backed coronavirus vaccine and earlier this month said the shot protected 86 percent of people against COVID-19. That’s expected to pave the way for full public use of the vaccine and a reopening of the Gulf nation’s economy.

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