Sahara Centre, the leading family and shopping destination in Sharjah, has reported a phenomenal increase in footfall and sales during the holy month of Ramadan. Reflecting Sharjah's economic growth, shoppers looking to celebrate Ramadan with family and friends took to the new and improved mall, resulting in a 75 percent increase in sales during Ramadan, with 45 percent more visitors during the month. Year-on-year, there were 25 percent more visitors during the three days of Eid. This isn't just a seasonal trend; the mall has grown from strength to strength since its ambitious expansion, with an overall 70 percent increase in sales.
Sahara Centre also held various high-profile initiatives which have proven to be crowd pullers this year. For instance, 14-year-old Leen Osama Sami Mustafa won a brand new Range Rover Evoque as part of the Ramadan Prize Draw. This was the first of two prizes to be won; the second prize draw will take place on 25th August 2013. Among other attractions at Sahara Centre during Eid, the Ayala Band's traditional dance and music, as well as performances by popular singer Moutasem Al Asali were big hits with mall-goers.
A Sharjah shopping destination
Sahara Centre is strategically located on the Dubai-Sharjah highway and first opened its doors to customers in February 2002. This year the mall upgraded facilities and added new stores as part of the shopping mall's extension.
"The mall has grown in popularity as the preferred destination for shoppers in Sharjah, who used to previously make the long trek to Dubai during weekends," says Akram Ammar, Sahara Centre's managing director. He continues, "With more than 100 new places to shop including Zara, Iconic, Matalan, Emax, Baby Shop; prominent brands including Mango, Lacoste, Steve Madden, Tommy Hillfiger, Sunglass Hut, Swarovski, Promod, Bershka, Pull and Bear, Rodeo Drive, Ferre, among others; 51 food outlets and a wide-range of new international restaurants including Chopsticks, Bennigans, Vapiano, Applebee's, Russo's New York pizzeria, Paul and, there isn't any need to leave Sharjah."
Malak Haydar is a regular customer at Sahara Centre and agrees that the home-grown attractions render a trip to Dubai unnecessary, "These days I don't feel the need to go anywhere else. I have the best options right next door, and with the expansion there are so many more shops and a bigger parking lot, so why should I go through the added stress of driving for miles and then fighting to find place to park my car. I save on fuel, Salik and my family prefers it here as well because the kids love the Adventureland and cinema."
Keeping pace with Sharjah's growth
Sahara Centre's rapid increase in footfall matches the growth predictions for the third largest emirate in the UAE. Sharjah is already the industrial powerhouse of the UAE, accounting for more than 40 percent of the country's industrial GDP. The Emirate's geographic location has led to an integration of land, sea and air links, offering a gateway to 160 countries serving 2 billion consumers. It is also working to establish itself as a leading business hub between three continents by focusing on four key sectors: travel and leisure, transport and logistics, healthcare, and the environment.