New mall welcomes luxury labels to Kazakhstan
The central Asian country of Kazakhstan is one of many growing former Soviet republics, the regional center for financial services, and in terms of area, the ninth largest country in the world. With an economy owing most of its wealth to oil and industry, times have been easier than in many traditional luxury markets, but growth has still suffered during the recent global economic crisis. Despite its vast size the country has a relatively small population of 16,000,000, but hopes are strong that a luxury goods sector will be able to grow healthy roots.
Almaty is the largest city in the country and boasts a population of 1.3 million people. The $450 million mall is being built in the city as part of a wider Esentai Park development which will also contain hotel and business spaces. The project, led by retail estate group Capital Partners, will see 300,000 square meters of new buildings created, including the Esentai Tower, the tallest building in Kazakhstan.
The mall opens October 19 with a lavish Moet Hennessey-sponsored bash for 600 selected guests (including the top secret visit of an international supermodel), and will then open its doors to the public the next day. The 52,000 sqare meters of retail space will house 160 brands, marking the first store openings in the country for labels including Christian Dior (300 sq. m), Gucci (300 sq. m), Fendi, Stella McCartney, Ralph Lauren and Dolce & Gabbana. A Saks Fifth Avenue department store is already open, operating as a franchise of the famous New York City store. A spokesperson for the developer told Relaxnews that Louis Vuitton (700 sq. m) opened on October 11.