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Time Out Market Back In Growth Phase With Saudi Mega Project

Time Out Market has confirmed another Middle Eastern location for its food hall concept, with Riyadh set to join a growing roster.

Last year, upscale food hall concept Time Out Market Dubai brought 17 of the U.A.E. city’s chefs under one roof, while in the Emirati capital, Time Out Market Abu Dhabi will open its doors in 2025.

The third Time Out Market in the region will be Time Out Market Riyadh, which will have 23 kitchens hosting established and up-and-coming local chefs, plus areas for culture, events and cooking showcases, with space for more than 1,600 diners.

It will be located in Diriyah Square, an enormous and ambitious development that is intended to create a new leisure destination in the historic town of Diriyah, on the edge of the Saudi capital.

The new announcement makes for a total of seven Time Out Market locations in the pipeline: Porto, Portugal and Cape Town, South Africa are due to open next year; Vancouver in 2024; Abu Dhabi, Prague. Czech Republic and Osaka, Japan in 2025.

And seven cities already have a Time Out Market: Miami, New York, Boston, Montreal and Chicago in the US/Canada, plus Portuguese capital Lisbon and Dubai.

Time Out Market Riyadh is expected to open in 2027 after Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA), developer of the cultural and heritage destination, Diriyah, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia announced last week that is has signed a management agreement with Time Out Group.

Diriyah Square To Host Time Out Market

Diriyah Square is the commercial, retail and lifestyle area within the $50.6bn, 14 sq km Diriyah development, one of a number of gigantic Saudi projects underway or proposed.

Time Out Market Riyadh will be located across over 90,000 sq ft and two levels. Alongside the 23 kitchens, there will be five beverage serveries, multiple stages, event and exhibition spaces, a demonstration kitchen, kitchen academy and kitchen lab. With approximately 1,650 seats, it will offer a variety of indoor and al fresco dining.

“Diriyah Square is set to be a landmark, combining history, heritage and culture alongside retail and hospitality.” Time Out Market Co-CEO (Development) Jay Coldren said at last week’s official launch in Cannes, France.

“As the country is opening up to tourism and the world, there is a well-established eating out culture that continues to grow and evolving cultural scenes which both locals and visitors are increasingly enjoying,” Coldren added.

For its part, the Diriyah Square development will deliver retail, leisure, entertainment, hospitality and cultural offerings for Riyadh residents and visitors.

Nearly 2 million sq ft in size, Diriyah Square will include more than 400 global retail and lifestyle brands and dining offers, as well as over 100 local concepts. It will also include six luxury hotels, three branded residences, five premium office buildings and over 20 open-air event spaces.

Saudi Arabia And Dubai Dominate GCC Retail

The project reflects the growing opening up of the Saudi market and its increasing dominance, alongside Dubai, of the region’s retail sales.

The Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) retail market is expected to surpass pre-pandemic levels this year, recording 15.7% year-on-year growth and reaching estimated revenues of over $315bn according to a report by Alpen Capital.

The World Cup, the return of tourism and population growth are all among factors cited in the return to growth, with Duty Free Sales at airports also expected to grow by 65.5% year-on-year to reach $2.2bn in 2022, and further projected to exceed $3bn by 2026, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.4%.

FIFA World Cup hosts Qatar will see the highest growth in the region during 2022, with its sales expected to reach $18.9bn.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE
lead retail sales regionally, cumulatively set to account for 78.5% of total GCC revenues by 2026.