MODA Mall is the premier luxury shopping destination in Bahrain. Over the years, it has become synonymous with high-end shopping and attracts visitors and retailers from around the world. Director of Asset Services – Middle East and General Manager of BWTC and MODA Mall Kelvin Crutchlow shares with Bahrain This Week his strategy and outlook for the future of MODA Mall.
Tell us briefly about yourself and your association with the MODA Mall.
I have 17 years international experience in real estate consultancy and asset management. This experience began in the UK and has continued into Europe, Africa and the Middle East. I have particular understanding and knowledge pertaining to retail and mixed use developments, advising developers, investment funds, financial institutions, public sector entities and private investors. I am a Chartered Surveyor and RICS Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) Assessor. Prior to becoming General Manager of Moda Mall, worked in the United Arab Emirates as Director of Retail Consultancy (MENA) with Colliers International and more recently as General Manager of ‘The Beach’ for Meraas.
I am extremely proud to have been appointed as the General Manager for this iconic development in Bahrain, a truly unique destination for leading luxury brands. It is my responsibility to ensure that MODA Mall continues to provide the ultimate retail and leisure experience for our customers. I am also keen to introduce new and exciting concepts to MODA Mall, which will enhance our already impressive offering.
Tell us about the MODA Mall business and when and how it was founded.
As you’re aware, MODA Mall is Bahrain’s exclusive luxurious shopping destination, known for its iconic, high-end brands be it fashion, jewellery or lifestyle. The mall which owes its origins to the former Sheraton Complex established 30 years ago, came into being because of the increasing demand for luxury goods in Bahrain which the market, at that time, was lacking. MODA Mall leveraged this huge opportunity of luxury retailing by creating an upscale environment that complemented the global brand appeal in an elegant and relaxed setting.
And so now over the years, the mall has become synonymous with luxury, high-end shopping in Bahrain, attracting visitors from GCC and international retailers such as Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Tiffany & Co, Valentino choosing MODA Mall as their launch pad for Bahrain.
How has the response been from customers and mall goers?
All is positive; sales, footfall; number of MODA Mall tenants have increased significantly during the last few years with the mall achieving 4.5% year-on-year occupancy growth and currently enjoying a 94% retail occupancy.
Is there any memorable experience as the CEO of MODA Mall that you would like to share with us?
Anytime I receive positive feedback from either our tenants or customers is a memorable experience. This tells me that the efforts of my team and I to provide the highest standards are recognised and valued. We work closely with all of our tenants to support and develop their businesses, whilst ensuring the best possible experience for our customers.
MODA Mall is identified on the island as a Mall of high-end shops. What is the objective of not including retail outlets that are below this benchmark?
With its strategic location, high visibility and high-value tenant concept, MODA Mall is an exciting shopping destination for not just the discerning shopper in Bahrain but also the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. Additionally it caters to a significant affluent target audience from the GCC visiting Bahrain for business or leisure, as well as visitors and tourists from around the world.
Any plans of expansion/inclusion of theatre/water park/etc at MODA Mall?
There are exciting plans afoot, which will include improved connectivity to surrounding locations, as well as improved facilities and new leisure & entertainment additions. Watch this space!
Where do you see MODA Mall in the next 5 years?
As Bahrain continues to be one of the most diversified GCC economies, we will continue to capitalize on the unique offerings of MODA Mall, through exposure with strategic partnerships, as well as attractive lease terms, which we are confident will continue to attract leading international and regional brands.
Any new brand/company to soon open up in MODA Mall? Any upcoming events?
We constantly work towards evolving our retail offerings with well-known international brands and local favourites that offer an unparallel experience to our savvy customers. To name a few of the recent brands who’ve opened shop with us include Künefeci by Mado, Seven Friday, Bakokoo Furniture Iridium & Co, Dress Me, Tailor Made, Lalabella, Peaches Confetti.
And while adding new tenants to offer a wider choice to our shoppers and cater to their demands, this combined with pleasant, memorable, interactive experiences is what’s going to make them come back for more. And hence, we focus our efforts on creating unique events/activities that are not only relevant to our customers but in our case, integrated with international fashion seasons such as new collections or local events like Arabian Women Fashion Expo or Formula One or cultural occasions like Ramadan, giving us an opportunities to regularly engage with our customers. So yes, we have lots of exciting stuff coming up at the mall.
What is your message to aspiring entrepreneurs of Bahrain?
Follow your dream and don’t let anyone dissuade you otherwise. There will be inevitable knock backs along the way but you must take the positives even out of disappointing experiences. Good fortune should not be the determining factor, only hard work and dedication. Do not rely on others to make it happen, take control of your destiny! If you completely believe in what you are doing then this confidence will resonate with others, never doubt yourself.