Retail watch: Carrefour’s sign goes up in Amman

Carrefour Amman

It’s Ramadan. Everyone’s hungry and a bit dizzy. So it’s it’s time for another Jordan retail update (here’s a previous post on the matter).

So, finally, the Carrefour sign is going up, as its host, City Mall is nearing completion. Carrefour typically open stores that are 20,000 square meter or more. So expect Carrefour to take up a good part of the mall.

This is the first international Supermarket to come to Jordan since the early nineties, when Safeway opened (they subsequently existed the market, but the Jordanian owners kept operating under the name anyway. The issue was settled later and the Kuwaiti Sultan Center took over).

Carrefour is a global giant. They are entering Jordan on their own (as far as I know there is no Jordanian partner involved). When I wrote about this subject lat April, one Jordan based American blogger said “just wait until Walmart comes to town, then no one will stand a chance”. Well.. Carrefour is here first and, you might be interested to know, Walmart just had a huge setback in Germany. It’s exiting that market with huge losses. So for now it’s the Europeans who are invading the Jordanian (and Middle Eastern market).

City Mall 3D rendering
The City mall was supposed to open last September, but ran into some delays. I personally expect it to be finished by the end of this year, and my guess is that we’ll be seeing a new year’s opening. It will have an oval shaped atrium and underground parking. Brand expected to be there are the Zara/Massimo Dutti/Pull and Bear group, Virgin Megastore, the french bakery/cafe Paul and many many other brands that will fill up the mall’s 160,000 square meters (a list of brands can be found on the mall’s website).

The other day I went to Mecca mall and was quite shocked at the number of new outlets in the new extension. And the mall was quite full. I am having a love-hate relationship with malls. I hate them because of their isolation from the urban fabric and their overtly artificial environments. I love them because they are the only places (other than downtown) where you can see masses of people engaging in a ‘civic’ activity, albeit in the confines of a private space.

Notably, a villa that used to stand beside Mecca Mall is GONE. From what I understand, Mecca Mall will be expanded AGAIN. Amazing. There is obviously still demand for retail space in Amman.

One thing I still need to check out (only out of curiosity) is the new Mukhtar Mall on Sport City circle. It’s a small one and described as being more of a neighborhood mall.

Also coming online soon is Al Istiklal mall. The mall phenomena is going east. I expect it to be a success judging by how many Apartment buildings have sprung up around that area.

People just love malls. We can intellectualize and talk about the loss of urban fabric as long as we want. But its hard to beat the air-conditioned, clean, dazzling and secure experience of a mall.

Retail spaces are also on the menu of other real estate developers. In Suweifieh there is a lot of building activity going on. In Abdoun, near Blue Fig the Tajamouat real estate development company is building an interesting mall under than name Taj.

Is the market getting over-saturated? I don’t know. But for now, the mall business model seems to be working in Jordan.


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17 Responses to “Retail watch: Carrefour’s sign goes up in Amman”

  1. Roba Says:

    Interesting. I think what’s helping a lot with the whole mall trend is also the increasing number of Arab tourists and the annual visiting of Jordanians that live in the Gulf. The lifestyle there revolves around malls, as they are used to shopping/grocery shopping/eating/socializing in malls. So, I’m so excited about all these new malls!
    Anyway, when you go to Mukhtar Mall you gotta check out the kitsch lights posted outside :D I’m quite sure they got them from a place that sells amusement-park stuff.

  2. Nasimjo Says:

    I think the market still has space 4 more! Coz theres quite a space 4 innovation..carrefour with its unique shopping experience will sure hv a success,virgin as well! 4example metro will hv a success if we’ll see one(tho nothing about a metro so far) and a praktiker can be a blow out with the building industry in town.. Btw,safeway is to open a metro-alike hyper store in magabalen

  3. Heba Says:

    Mukhtar Mall’s ugly lights are driving my 3 year old daughter crazy, every time we pass by them she begs me to stop the car so she can go see “el tabbat il kbeereh bel alwan” LOL! it doesnt look so encouraging as a mall! :)

  4. moryarti Says:

    Majed Al Futtaim is a great guy … its good to see him pushing it towards Jordan..

  5. Moey Says:

    I was asked to work for virgin megastores at city mall, didn’t reply back.. I worked in Kuwait’s before

  6. salam Says:

    Ahmad did you see this:

    http://www.reflectionsallmine.net/archive/2006/10/103594.html

  7. Humeid Says:

    Salam..
    let me guess.. its the weird entrance structure in front of city mall!!

  8. Pheras Hilal Says:

    Well, the sad part is that the mall has suffered several delays, as it was scheduled to initially open last summer, which never happened. In an interview with the General Manager, which can be found in Venture’s August 06 issue, Ahmad Daoud stated that Carrefour will open its doors in September, and the mall and the rest of the attractions are due to open after Ramadan.

    With all these conflicting reports, one only seems to wonder, when will the mall exactly open its door for the public?

    Honestly speaking, I doubt any time during this year…

  9. Zaid Al-Daoud Says:

    Dear all,
    Thank you for your interest and your comments about City Mall, we look forward to seeing you soon.
    Carrefour will open on the 14th of November, however, the rest of shops will open in phases, hopefully by the end of the year we’ll have 80% of the shops ready, as for the Cinemas, Family entertainment center and Virgin Megastores, they will be ready early next year!
    And by the way, the weird structure infront of the mall is a 360 degree glass structure area that will be utilized for the foodcourt seating, and other activities …

  10. Moey Says:

    yeah early 2007 (ya3ni september)

  11. Iyas Says:

    will, i was asked to work in virgin, that was three mounths ago, i met the G.M of virgin (Nisreen) i think moey met her, and she said that there will be a reply after a week, but until now i didn’t hear or receive any thing yet, any ways her i am hopeing that it will come up real soon.

    turn on music
    turn off drugs

  12. John Lyons Says:

    Carrefour – some pleasant and unpleasant experiences. Inconvenient separation of food floor from other floor.

    Butcher area is sometimes chaotic – I think they need to use numbers because twice I left the meat/chicken because the wait was 20 minutes and more – plus the local population geerally try to push their needs ahead of yours even though you are ahead in line. Very frustrating. It seems we have to cut our own meat or go when no one else is at the butcher area.

  13. swais Says:

    This is a great accomplishment in jordan where you can go to a mall and find just about anything with good prices .the only thing i feel sorry for is the small stores in and around town wher they will loose alot of business and may be forced to close up

  14. abedasslam kawikji Says:

    Heyyy guy ,thnx 4 e thing but am lookin for a part time job in amman if any body have let send me to ma E-mail :

  15. ali Says:

    c-town is the best retailer in jordan i tried all the rest but i always end up at c-town.

  16. Dave Hackett Says:

    Would you possibly have the telephone number for the C-Town grocery store in the Amman Mall in Jordan?! Thank you for reading this email.

  17. Dina Says:

    I’m not a big fan of Carrefour, although it’s big, I never get what I want, and I always feel that I’m getting screwed up whenever there’s an offer on something. I once bought a offer on busicuts in Carrefour Dubai, it was buy one get one fruy them at all.
    ee kind of a deal. Both were very very badly smashed, I wished I did’t b
    Things are cheap but are very low quality you’re better off buying something a bit more expensive.

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