Dec 5, 2011
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Morocco Mall: an XXL center

Dec 5, 2011

The Morocco Mall brings together the East and the West, earth and sea, budget brands and luxury goods. The shopping center, which opened to the public last Monday in Casablanca, is a commercial space that spans 250,000 square meters (2.69 million sq ft) of which 70,000 (753,473 sq ft) are reserved for sale.

Morocco Mall
Coupole Galeries / Photos by courtesy of Morocco Mall

The building is 620 meters (2,034 sq ft) long. A real gem that has appeared on Casablanca’s Promenade des Anglais. “The mall is unique in its location facing the ocean and will probably hold its own for some time given the potential market. There are many international brands considered popular due to their presence in the media and the fact that the market is still limited in terms of supply. Zara arrived in Morocco in 2005," noted Philippe de Fraiteur, project head at Aksal. The Moroccan group is associated with the Saudi giant Al Jedaie. The partners have each contributed half of the 200 million euro investment. The Morocco Mall is impressive because of its size facing the ocean. The design is cutting edge. The shape is inspired by that of a shell resting on the sand. The figure eight shape, like infinity, avoids blind spots and offers smooth contours. "The experience is that of a continuous outdoor and indoor space," said Gianluca Gerosa, spokesman for the architectural firm Design International.

Morocco Mall

From the aspect of brands, there is less surprise. Except for a mini souk, the central giant has few local stores. Its range begins with Fnac and ends with Galeries Lafayette. Between these two French brands, which are celebrating their arrival on the African continent (for Galeries Lafayette, it would be a comeback), there will be around 350 stores (with 600 listed brands), and mainly international brand names. At the top of the list, the Inditex group, of which Aksal, the mall’s developer, is already a partner in Morocco. The Spanish group is expanding all of its lines - Zara, Zara Kids, Massimo Dutti, Üterque, Oysho… And, as in a traditional shopping center, these rub shoulders with H&M, New Look, Banana Republic, Gap, L'Occitane — the mall is two-story at the outset, and surpasses three stories in the center. A luxury island in the middle of the mall, like a pearl in an oyster, houses Gucci, Fendi, Dior and Louis Vuitton. Luxury amounts to 10% of the offering, high-end to 20%, and value brands account for the remaining 70%.

Aksal, which controls Gap, Banana Republic and New Look, took the opportunity to install all three brands there. The American retailer Gap extends over nearly 1,000 square meters (10,763 sq ft). “Gap is legendary. We have an offering to meet the needs of the Moroccan consumer. There is an appetite for consumption. The middle class is emerging in Casablanca,” said Nabil Abu El Aïnine head of Aksal’s retail division. What’s more, some of the promoter’s officials estimate the number of non-Morrocan visitors at 10%. Remaining to be seen is the conversion rate of the 14 millions annual visitors expected, or an average of 40,000 per day. “It is a destination with a shopping area, an aquarium, cinema…” states Aksal.

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