Plug-Ins drives 'big box' retail revolution

Fast-growing IT retailer Plug-Ins Electronix plans to open a 50,000 square feet flagship store at Dubai Festival City — part of the ‘city-within-a-city’ under construction on the banks of Dubai Creek — as ‘big box’ IT retail comes to town.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  May 10, 2005

Fast-growing IT retailer Plug-Ins Electronix plans to open a 50,000 square feet flagship store at Dubai Festival City — part of the 2.6 million square feet retail and entertainment ‘city-within-a-city’ under construction on the banks of Dubai Creek — as ‘big box’ IT retail comes to town. The Plug-Ins store is scheduled to open in early 2006 and will be the largest outlet in the retailer’s growing chain. The store will carry a full range of IT products, digital devices and mobile telephony offerings alongside consumer electronics and household devices. At 50,000 square feet the new store will be bigger than a football pitch and Plug-Ins should have no problems finding floor space for its product portfolio. “The decision to launch our flagship store at Dubai Festival City underlines both our confidence in the waterfront destination and our confidence in the UAE market,” explained Vishesh Bhatia, group director for electronics at Plug-Ins. “The project will become a centrepiece for Dubai and will provide a uniquely exciting environment for us to satisfy the city’s growing electronics needs.” Plug-Ins new store will be located in the furniture precinct of the Festival Centre’s retail park. This precinct has been specifically developed for ‘large format retailers’ and will also include furniture and hardware stores. “The decision by leading brands to set up premier stores at Dubai Festival City underlines the importance of this project as a top retail destination,” added Phil McArthur, director of leasing and marketing at Dubai Festival City. “Big box retailers will bring a whole new shopping experience to customers. They will offer vast display space and ample and very convenient car parking, bringing the big brand destination experience to Dubai.” The IT retail sector is maturing fast across the Middle East. In the consumer space, mall-based stores of limited size will increasingly be put under pressure by destination stores — single outlets that incorporate a complete standalone shopping experience for consumers. As well as mall-based IT stores, high street stores, showrooms and independent retailers will also need to work out how to retain their footfall against this new breed of competition. To put the new store in context, Jacky’s recently opened its largest mall-based store at the Ibn Battuta shopping centre in Dubai. This store measured in at just 5,000 square feet — one-tenth of the size of Plug-Ins proposed outlet. It will be interesting to see how rival retailers such as Jumbo and Jacky’s respond to Plug-Ins’ latest announcement. Plug-Ins 'big box' move could trigger a slew of similar announcements.

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