Mena retailers set to score big during Qatar World Cup


The Qatar World Cup will kick off on November 20 and one million supporters are expected to attend.

The international men’s football competition is taking place in the Middle East for the very first time this year – and retailers are looking at ways to cash in.

Nasser Al Khater, CEO of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, said net profit from the World Cup is expected to be around $17 billion.

Souq Waqif, a marketplace in Doha, is getting ready for an influx of visitors to the capital in November and is stocking up with a range of traditional souvenirs, as well as football paraphernalia.

The Al Rawnaq company in the capital is also adding to its stock in anticipation of football fever.

For decades, the company has focused on textiles, clothes, and toys, but as the World Cup approaches, it will also stock  scarves, flags, and hats emblazoned with the names of the 32 competing nations, particularly host Qatar.

And to manage the influx of shoppers, stores across the country will be allowed to remain open 24 hours a day during the tournament.

But it’s not just Qatar’s retail sector that’s looking to score big during the World Cup.

Dubai is expected to enjoy a welcome halo effect from Qatar’s predicted $17 billion economy boost.

A recent report suggests that the UAE, especially Dubai, will benefit from up to $600 million in revenues from World Cup-related tourist expenditure in the Middle East, thanks to its close proximity to host nation Qatar.

And retailers in the UAE are keen to welcome the projected one million football fans to its shores.

The CEO of a leading fashion retail network in the UAE, who didn’t want to be named,  told Gulf News, “These [visitors to Dubai] are high-spending arrivals, and no retailer, F&B, leisure or entertainment services provider can miss out.”

“If we add to the usual demand for end-of-year sales from residents and the non-World Cup tourist arrivals, December 2022 is going to be exceptionally busy. Which is why retailers have to plan their stock purchases and finalize delivery schedules now. Delays will hurt.”