News of Lebanon’s latest achievements in terms of what people are willing to pay for a retail space has been circulating for a while, with The National (thanks Mustapha) reporting on it last week and now Bloomberg (thanks Oussama). Here’s the snippet:

Cost of Retail Space

25. Brussels
26. Oslo
27. Prague
28. Kuala Lumpur
29. Istanbul
30. Beirut
31. Stockholm
32. Helsinki
33. Luxembourg
34. Taipei
35. Tel Aviv

Based on the report, Beirut has the most expensive commercial real estate in the region. As Mustapha rightly pointed out, this doesn’t mean that Beirut shops are great or doing well for that matter but rather, businesses perceive that these high-priced properties will do well and are willing to pay a premium to be there.

Now here is my issue with this, and its actually more of an issue with Dubai rather than Beirut. Why is it that brand-name items sold in Dubai cost almost the same as they do in Lebanon? I mean, I’ve come to the decision that its pointless to do my Christmas shopping for family in Dubai and lug them onto a plane when I can buy them in Beirut (in turn, support the Lebanese economy without spending an additional lira/dirham). So Beirut businesses have to deal with higher rents, higher power costs and consumers face a 10% VAT tax and yet the prices are identical?

Kind of feel like I’m getting ripped off over here.

Imre Solt: This is a photo of the Mall of the Emirates, located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on 9 June 2007.

Imre Solt: This is a photo of the Mall of the Emirates, located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on 9 June 2007.