Babyshop to open 15 stores in the UAE by 2016
The region is set to have up to 30 stores in the next three years
Dubai: Babyshop plans to open between 15 and 18 stores in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) this year.
However, revenue growth is expected to drop from 19 per cent in 2013 to 16 per cent this year, Vinod Talreja, the company’s CEO, told Gulf News. He declined to disclose revenue for 2013.
Established in 1973, Babyshop has 195 stores in 14 countries in Mena. Around 50 per cent of its customers in the UAE are Emirati and other Arab nationalities, according to Talreja.
Babyshop is expanding its presence in smaller towns in the UAE and is considering opening stores in areas such as Kalba and Dibba. “It will be a cornerstone of our strategy going forward,” Ruban Shanmugarajah, general manager of Babyshop, said during a press conference on Tuesday.
The children retailer, part of retail and hospitality group Landmark, is set to have between 28 and 30 new stores in Mena by 2016. With an investment of Dh150 million, the company expects to open 15 of those stores across the UAE, including six in Abu Dhabi.
Talreja said that Babyshop is interested in expanding in new malls in Dubai once they are completed.
Retailers that want to expand in Dubai are currently looking at existing and community malls, as well as new major malls once they are completed, according to Mat Green, head of research for the UAE at CBRE. He expects new major malls to enter the market starting from 2017.
Currently major malls in the emirate are “running close to full occupancy” and are undergoing expansion, reflecting the shortage of retail space, according to Green.
Babyshop has 40 stores across the UAE, in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain. The company recently opened outlets in the World Trade Centre Mall, Deerfield Town Centre, Ruwais Mall and Dubai Outlet Mall.
Stores are set to open in existing malls, including Abu Dhabi’s Yas Mall and possibly Deira City Centre in Dubai, as well as community malls and co-operatives. It has partnered with Emirates Cooperative to open a store in Hatta. More Babyshop high street stores are also on the way.
In Saudi Arabia, one of Babyshop’s fastest growing markets, up to 15 stores are expected to open this year.
In addition, March will see the opening of Babyshop stores in Jordan’s Irbid City Centre, Libya and Iraq.
While the company is looking at entering Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, it hopes to expand internationally, according to Talreja. “These are large population countries and we feel there is a good potential to be there,” he said.
Meanwhile, plans are underway for renovating stores in the region.