Dubai is a popular vacation and shopping destination. If you are a wanderlust and shopping enthusiast, Dubai is nothing less than heaven for you. The primary reason why Dubai has become a famous tourist spot is because of its exotic and elegant shopping malls. These malls have everything you need to buy, from a pin to a plane, no jokes. There is nothing you won’t get in Dubai. Dubai is famous not just for its beautiful landscape but for its magnificent infrastructure. This is why all the big brands of the world have their outlets and stores in Dubai. All the brands have their retail stores in every mall in Dubai.

If you are keen on expanding your business, you can also go for retail spaces for rent in Dubai. But if you have enough capital to invest and want to settle in Dubai permanently, then you can also go for retail spaces for sale in Dubai. This can be a huge one-time investment but will give you the liberty to run any business. Also, if you decide to shut your business for any reason, you can still earn good money by renting it. If you plan to set up a retail business in Dubai, you need to consider an area where the bulk of the local population is economically stable.

Let us dig deeper into how to set up a retail store in Dubai and what things you need to consider before renting or buying any retail store in Dubai.

Setting up a Retail Store in Dubai Mainland

Dubai is popular as the ‘Shopping Capital of the Middle East.’ People are looking to invest more and more into Dubai’s thriving economic sector by purchasing properties or renting retail spaces for their business expansion. Many renowned businesses have set up their outlets and stores in Dubai to fetch more profit. For this reason, there are plenty of retail spaces for rent in Dubai. If you also want to set up a successful retail store in Dubai, you must consider these steps before investing.

1. A robust Business Plan

Any good business starts with a good idea. If you already have a business plan, you still need to conduct extensive research on that idea before investing huge capital into renting or buying retail space in a city like Dubai. But if you are a novice in the field of business, you must devise a robust business plan. This should be the first step toward your business journey in Dubai. Although Dubai has a good economy, you might lose all your money and investment if your business plan isn’t strong enough. Especially if you are taking up a business loan, you need to be extra careful.

Examine your concept thoroughly and weed out any unnecessary, messy features. Describe all the compelling but nagging reasons you want to launch a retail firm. Who will make up your target market? What distinguishes your suggestion from others? How will your company serve Dubai’s multicultural population?

2. Type and nature of the business

Although Dubai is more liberal than other Arab countries because of its cultural diversity, you must always remember that it is an Arab nation, and there can be restrictions on certain types of businesses in Dubai. For example, gambling and casinos are not allowed in Dubai. Selecting the right business depends on the nature of the business and the market competition of that business. Also, depending on the type of your business, you might need to take clearance and a licence from various government departments in Dubai. So, you must also consider all these things and get a clear picture of the prerequisites before starting a business.

3. A Sponsor and Insurance

Insurance is a safety jacket. And it is always good to have a backup. So, for setting up a business in the Dubai mainland, it is mandatory to have a local resident as your business partner. This ensures legitimate capital sponsorship and your business with the government of Dubai. The local sponsor must be a UAE citizen supporting the industry and responsible for a 51% share of the business setup. The foreign partner will own the remaining 49%. This is also great for the entrepreneur because engagement with a local resident can increase their chances of setting up a business in a prime locality of Dubai as a local resident knows the place and the market better. Insurance protects your business from any kind of loss or damage. So, it’s good to have both – insurance and sponsorship. However, the laws have changed now and you can set up your business without needing a local resident as a sponsor.

4. Business Licence and Registration

After figuring out all the above points and completing extensive business research, the next step is registering for your business with the Dubai government. You must petition for a trade licence; if you are a foreign citizen, you must also get your work visa. After your work visa is approved, you must apply for company registration. Put in a request to obtain any extra certificates and endorsements from government bodies that may be necessary for your application. When a business application is submitted to the DED, or the Dubai Department of Economic Development, the DED reviews it and grants approval.

5. Skilled Set of Employees

Setting up a business or a start-up in Dubai is already quite expensive. So it would help if you thought of cutting down the cost in the best way possible. The best way to control costs is to hire a skilled group of people to work for you. For example, hiring only the required number of people who can handle major work and paying them justified compensation is better than hiring excessive people for the same jobs and paying them excessively. Also, you need to hire a skilled and experienced store manager to supervise your retail store in your absence. The same manager can also handle other employees’ leaves, salaries, etc. This will save you the cost of hiring an additional HR manager. This way, you can save a lot of money by hiring skilled personnel to work for you. You can’t hire any employees if you have the Intelaq licence, for some reason. You will only be able to employ contractors for the work.

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

  • Passport copies for all managers and shareholders
  • Copy of the applicant’s UAE residency VISA
  • Certificate of No Objection (NOC) from the existing sponsor of your resident VISA
  • Each co-owner must provide proof of residency
  • Ownership deed or lease agreement of the retail shop’s formal location.

However, the documentation can depend on business to business and the activities of your retail store.

6. Retail stores in Dubai free-zone

You can own a commercial property in Dubai on a freehold basis. So if you are going for retail stores for rent in Dubai, you must consider renting a shop in the Dubai Freezone. These zones offer engaging and interactive fun and leisure activities with extraordinary shopping facilities available to the working mass of Dubai. So, it will attract a huge workforce. You can set up a business in the Dubai free zone and enjoy huge profits by creating something fun to engage the working crowd in Dubai.

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

  • Choose a free zone in Dubai based on your preferences.
  • Obtain initial approval from the appropriate authority for registering your business.
  • Apply for a trade licence based on the type of business activity.
  • Register your company with the free zone authorities.
  • Pay the fees and receive the Certificate of Registration for the company and the requested Business License.


If you have a fantastic business idea, you can proceed after devising a proper business plan and sketching out a proper business strategy. But, if you are still thinking of coming up with a good business idea to take advantage of the thriving economy and lavish life of Dubai, setting up a retail store in Dubai free zone can be fantastic and quite profitable.

The main thing that you must remember before going for retail spaces for sale in Dubai is the kind of business you are planning to start. You have two options –

  1. Start a business of your own by setting up your own company under your brand name.
  2. Take up the franchisee of an existing big brand.

The first option seems difficult because it requires a lot of capital investment, research, and marketing. But if you plan on setting up a franchise, it will be comparatively easier for you as you won’t have to spend much on marketing and advertising. You need to find a good location for your retail store. This step is not complicated as there are plenty of retail spaces for rent in Dubai. You can also invest in an existing business to save yourself the hassle of setting up your own business. But, if you want to be your boss and a rich one at that, you must go for retail spaces for rent in Dubai and set up your brand.