The Ultimate Guide on Retail Business Setup in Dubai

September 14, 2023

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Dubai is a popular shopping destination, and to say that shopping malls are what made Dubai into the top tourist spot of the world would not be far off. The retail and shopping industry of the UAE is the backbone of its economy.

The retail sector of Dubai has proven to be a thriving industry contributing around 22.85% to the GDP of the UAE. Because of this, it is witnessing a rapid transformation as the customers become more conscious regarding their wants and needs. The customers now demand more value for their buck without having to compromise on the quality of both the product and the services rendered. Typically, it has been noted that retail shops located in populous areas of the city have better sales as they are within easy access to the customers.

If you plan to set up a retail business in Dubai, then you need to consider such an area for it where the bulk of the local population is economically stable.

How to Set up a Retail Store in Dubai Mainland

Dubai is recognized as the shopping capital of the Middle East. The same people who are responsible for creating shopping malls of startling proportions in the heart of Dubai downtown are now eyeing the Emirate with renewed interest. They are looking to invest and expand their existing business. Thus, creating new business and investment opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs and also creating novel experiences for shoppers. Dubai mainland is the perfect location for setting up a retail business in Dubai. Although the mainland retail store registration comes with a few bumps in the road like adhering to strict regulations, it is still the most lucrative location for business owners to venture into.

Here is the set of steps you need to follow if you want to register a retail business in Dubai.

1. Draft a Business Plan

Draw up a business plan which should only be carried out after complete and thorough market research is done. It should be meticulously prepared because the success of your business setup depends on it. Dissect your idea thoroughly and get rid of all the messy details that need to be taken care of. Answer all the important, yet nagging questions like Why do you want to really start a retail business? Who will your target demographic be? What makes your idea different from others? How will your business cater to the culturally diverse residents of Dubai?

2. Type of Business Activity

Selecting the type of business activity will assist in determining the sort of business license needed for establishing a retail business in Dubai. Specific products, like running a jewelry store or starting a food business, need additional approvals from sometimes different government departments.

3. Arrange a Local Sponsor for Your Business

For setting up a business in Dubai mainland, it is compulsory to have a local business partner. The local sponsor must be a UAE citizen who is there to support the industry and is responsible for a 51% share of the business setup. The foreign partner will own the remaining 49%. Business in Dubai mainland provides the freedom to the entrepreneurs to locate their business anywhere in the city they deem fit. For a company in Dubai, this is a blessing because it provides the best selection of locations to accommodate your budget.

4. Business License and its Registration

The next move is to petition for a trade license in Dubai and apply for company registration. Plus, put in a request for acquiring any other certificates and endorsements from concerned government authorities. The Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) is the government regulatory body that gives the approval for opening a retail store in Dubai.

5. Hire Talented and Skilled Employees

In most instances, you will have to hire an experienced and skilled manager to oversee the everyday operations of your shop. However, (for some reason) you get the Intelaq license, you are prohibited by law to hire any staff. You will only be able to employ contractors for the work.

The documents needed to register a retail business in Dubai is:

  • Copies of the Passports of all managers and shareholders
  • Copy of the owners UAE residence visa
  • No Objection Certificate (NOC) from your current residence visa sponsor
  • Proof of residence for each part-owner
  • Lease agreement or ownership deed for the official site for the retail shop

The paperwork can vary somewhat depending on the nature of the business activity of your retail store.

You can get a shop on contract by attaining permits from Dubai Municipality and other associated regulatory bodies to run a business in the Dubai Mainland.

Retail Shop in Dubai Free Zone

Almost all of the Dubai free zones offer engaging leisure activities and extraordinary shopping facilities to the workers, employees and business visitors. Since free zones in Dubai are invariably high in demand with more and more business owners and foreign investors venturing into the Middle Eastern, particularly the UAE, for company incorporation to reap the benefits of international trade. Hence, making it an ideal location for a retail business setup.

The steps to set up a retail business in Dubai Free Zone.

  • Pick the free zone according to your preference in Dubai
  • Get an initial approval from the requisite authority for registering your business
  • Apply for a trade license depending on the type of business activity
  • Get your company registered with the free zone authorities
  • Pay the dues and get the Certificate of Registration for the company and the requested Business License

Dubai Mainland or its many Free zones, there are various advantages of each jurisdiction. Consequently, taking help from a professional can smoothen the process immensely. We at KWS Middle East are elite business setup consultants in the UAE who assist entrepreneurs in starting a business in Dubai. Our specialists are masters of their craft and thus can make the entire business setup procedure hassle-free.

Do not hesitate to give us a call-in case of any doubts or queries.

Contact us today and book our commitment-free consultation call today!

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