Local News

A shoppers paradise

February 6 - 12, 2008

Seef Mall celebrated its 10th anniversary with a dazzling array of entertainers from different corners of the world lending the event an international appeal that is in tune with the image of the mall.

The event and the new west wing of Seef Mall were inaugurated by Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Hassan Fakhro.

The BD15 million expansion has increased the mall's capacity by more than one third and is an ultra-chic addition to the largest and most popular shopping mall in the kingdom.

The event attracted a huge crowd of people and children of all ages crowding around the makeshift centre stage in the Seef Extension.

Whether it was the Australian violinist Sophie Serafino enchanting the crowds with her unique mix of world music, dance and classically-inspired strings, or the break dancing troupe from UK, people were tapping their feet to the beat of music.

A footballing sensation enthralled the people with his amazing tricks and another created a colourful high-energy illusion using his entire body. The show was packed with one treat after another. Peppered in different corners of the mall were human statues that lent a unique entertainment for people on the move.

The culmination of the event was a giant balloon drop with special prizes by more than 300 stores attached to several hundred balloons that were released to the excited crowd.

Speaking exclusively to GulfWeekly, chairman of Seef Mall, Abdul Rahman Yusif Fakhro said: "Seef Mall's continued success is due to the fact that we pay special attention to the right mix of different brands and the quality of the product. Location, ambience, restaurants and a safe and secure environment contributes to its popularity. We are continuously looking at ways to improve the mall and offer the best facilities and promotions to our customers and tenants."

Although it is the market leader in shopping malls to date, the management of Seef Mall hasn't sat back and basked in its glory.

Instead it has gone from strength to strength, from updating its existing facilities to building the new extension with the BD8.5 million Seef Tower as its present project.

"The tower will comprise five star hotel suites managed by an international operator, Fraser. The suites will have direct access to the mall and will be launched in July this year," he added apologising for the lack of parking but saying that the additional 441 parking spaces after the completion of the tower will offer parking ease and convenience to Seef shoppers.

Currently Seef Mall has an average of 80,000 customers visiting each week.

Mr Fakhro is unfazed by the upcoming completion of Bahrain City Centre and says that competition is always healthy for business as it promotes quality.

"Bahrain lacks shopping malls and there is a growing demand for more malls. City Centre coupled with Sheraton's new shopping facility along with Seef Mall will cater to the diverse needs of shoppers.

"If we want to stay in the market then we have to continuously improve and upgrade ourselves which is something that we are constantly looking at. The behaviour of shoppers has changed and they will no longer go to a hole-in-the-wall to shop but want a wide range of facilities in a trendy environment," he said.

Mr Fakhro, 63, says that managing the extensive portfolio and the mall itself means that he relies on his excellent team, 82 per cent of whom are Bahrainis. But, he remains at the helm of affairs by remaining in close contact with his management team on a daily basis.

Mr Fakhro's fact file

Favourite shopping destination: New York.

Go to Seef Mall: Once a month as a shopper or to the cinema.

Favourite brand: Polo.

Wheels: Mercedes Benz.

A trait that I like: Honesty.

An aspect of shopping I hate: When I go inside a store and a salesperson is following or watching me.

Books of interest: Books in Arabic about regional politics.

Ideal mode of relaxation: At home with my family.

My family: One son and three daughters, Tala, Yusuf, Hella, Reema and wife Badria.

Seef Tower stats

A BD8.5 million project, Seef Tower will be a 19 storey apartment tower with 91 apartments and three penthouses.

It will house a health club and two swimming pools. The total floor area will be 20,000 square metres with 441 parking spaces. Seef Tower will have direct access to the mall and is due to be completed in July this year.

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