Juicy Couture expands in the Middle East

Dubai: Following the recent announcement that it will close all of its US stores, Juicy Couture, an American brand known for its women’s tracksuits, is expanding in the Middle East with the opening of two stores, one in Abu Dhabi and one in Doha, by the year-end, the company said on Thursday.

The store in Abu Dhabi will open in Yas Mall in November, while the one in Doha, its first in Qatar, will open in Lagoona Mall in December.

Juicy Couture is owned by Authentic Brands Group (ABG), a brand development and licensing company, and operates in the Middle East through a partnership with Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) Fashion, the retailing arm of Majid Al Futtaim, a Dubai-based retail and leisure conglomerate.

“Customers that travel regularly throughout the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] have visited our other stores throughout the region in order to purchase Juicy Couture, so we are confident the brand resonates with them and will be a success,” Ahmad Galal Esmail, chief executive of MAF Ventures, told Gulf News in an emailed statement.
The American brand has 18 stores in the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.

“The Juicy Couture brand is strong and thriving globally, and Authentic Brands Group is committed to driving a comprehensive, multidimensional strategy to expand Juicy Couture across our international markets,” said Jamie Salter, chairman and chief executive of ABG, in a statement.
The company said that it has developed “new concept” stores that will open in the US and Canada, replacing the existing ones in the US, starting next year. The new stores will be in cities that include New York City, Los Angeles and Vancouver.

“[The existing US stores] are currently being phased out, as they were opened by the previous owner of the brand and are no longer representative of the Juicy Couture brand today and ABG’s vision for the brand’s future,” the company said in a statement.

Last year, Fifth & Pacific sold Juicy Couture to ABG for $195 million (Dh716 million) after the brand saw sliding sales in recent years.

In the US, the brand has not been successful due to high media exposure, product saturation and its failure to keep pace with changing fashion trends, according to Colin Beaton, managing director at Limelight Creative Services, a boutique retail consultancy.

In the Middle East, “the brand will build sales and market shares,” Beaton said.

He expects the new concept stores that the brand plans to roll out in the US to eventually come to the UAE so that it can have global brand continuity, but it will take time.

Juicy Couture, which has 200 stores worldwide, aims to open more than 100 stores and shop-in-shops globally over the next five years.

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