Supermarkets, F&B sector performing well in Qatar despite Covid-19 ReportAdmin
Publication: Gulf Times (English | Newspaper)
The supermarket sector, one of the retail segments, and certain parts of the food and beverages (F&B) have been performing well in Qatar despite Covid-19, thanks to the technological disruptions, according to Cushman and Wakefield Qatar. In recent weeks, Al Meera opened at The Mall an established retail development on D Ring Road. “Omni-channel F&B outlets have been able to manage the transition better than others, while the other retailers and malls have been adjusting to enable their online/phone ordering sales channels,” it said in a report. While rent relief has been welcomed by tenants throughout the market, it said other operating costs cannot be serviced by sales revenues this time, thus raising questions on the number of retailers that may struggle to remain open in a prolonged lockdown. To deal with the unprecedented crisis, support measures have been announced by various government and private entities, varying from three to six months’ rent relief. Some landlords have granted their F&B tenants relief from rent and service/utility charges until further notice (Aspire Zone, Katara Cultural Village, and Msheireb Properties). The Private Engineering Office, which manages Souq Waqif, Al Wakra Souq and other traditional markets, has exempted tenants from rent for four months. Elsewhere, Qatari Diar exempted its F&B tenants in Lusail Marina and Barwa Commercial Avenue from rent for three months effective from April, with United Development Company announcing similar relief for all their tenants. The Mall of Qatar and Ezdan Malls extended rent relief to all their tenants for three months starting from March, while Doha Festival City Mall offered the same support to eligible tenants effective from April. Both Barwa Real Estate Group and Woqod have postponed or exempted their tenants from rent for three months starting from April. Other private landlords have followed suit, sometimes postponing rent rather than waiving completely. On March 15, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry ordered retail malls to close, with only supermarkets and pharmacies allowed to remain open. Regulations for restaurants, cafes, and standalone shops have been gradually tightening and refining since then, with some F&B outlets continuing to operate for delivery/take-out.