Landmark to open 20 stores in Egypt

Dubai: Landmark Group is planning to open 20 stores in Egypt in the next 12 to 24 months, according to the group’s top executive.

The Dubai-based retail and hospitality group is investing around Dh400-500 million for the expansion, said Vipen Sethi, the group’s chief executive.

“We will bring [the stores] into Cairo, we will see how the market goes, and then we will expand in the natural, normal course,” he said.

Landmark has been operating in Egypt for past five years, but expansion had slowed down due to the country’s political instability during that period.
“Egypt had its ups and downs with the new government coming in, and at that point of time we could not push expansion in a normal course, but now that there is stability and things are looking up, we are looking to add up new stores and expand our footprint there,” Sethi said.

Landmark’s portfolio of retail brands includes Centrepoint, Splash, Babyshop and E-max, among others. In 2009, it took up more than 150,000 square feet of retail space for Centrepoint, Home Centre, New Look and Max in Alexandria City Centre in Egypt.
The group also hopes to bounce back in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan, which it entered three years ago.

“[Expansion in Erbil] has had a little setback because of the political situation there. We are still looking at retail space because we hope that this problem gets sorted out soon,” Sethi said.

The group’s losses in the market are “not significant. You’re down one month, then you pick up,” he added.

Landmark expects a 15-20 per cent growth in revenue for the Middle East and North Africa in the current fiscal year ending June 2015 compared to the previous fiscal year (Landmark’s fiscal year starts on July), driven by new stores and brands and entry to new markets, according to Sethi.

The group is looking to expand to Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.

It also expects to open around 200 stores across all of its brands in the region during the current fiscal year, which will be financed using its own funds and bank loans, he said.

Last June, Landmark said it is planning to open 50 stores in the UAE by the end of 2015 — half of those are expected to be at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Mall, which is due to open next month. The new stores will bring the group’s total number of stores in the country to over 550, expanding the total retail area from 6.3 million square feet to eight million square feet.

It is also investing Dh1 billion for a new corporate office building in Tecom in Dubai, which is due to open in 12 to 15 months, and a distribution centre in Jebel Ali.

Sethi expects Dubai’s retail sector to grow by between 15 and 20 per cent per year by 2020, but said it “might take time” for it to reach pre-2008 levels because the size of the market today is larger.


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