Category Archives: #middleast

Dubai prepares for three-day shopping bonanza

Dubai retailers are gearing up for a three-day ‘Super Sale’ in the emirate starting Thursday May 18.

More than 750 retailers across the emirate – more than 250 brands – will slash prices, knocking between 30 percent and 90 percent off products.
Some of the brands offering discounts include Guess, Steve Madden, Kurt Geiger, Roberto Cavalli, Galeries Lafayette, Furla, Missoni, Boutique 1, Scotch and Soda, Balmain, Aldo, Toms, Birkenstock, Charles & Keith, Nine West, Desigual, Al Jaber Optical, IDdesign, Marlin Furniture, Porsche Design and Disney Fashion.
More than 1,000 retail outlets across Dubai will offer discounts on a range of electronics, jewellery, toys, homewear, furniture, apparel and fashion.
The pre-Ramandan sale is organised by the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism).

Sheikh Mohammed launches Dubai’s new $1.7bn mega-project

Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed has announced the launch of Marsa Al Arab, Dubai Holding’s latest tourist destination development in the emirate.
The $1.7 billion (AED 6.3bn) mega-project, spread across 4 million sq. ft, will be developed on new two islands on both sides of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. Marsa (Arabic for marina) Al Arab is expected to be completed by 2020.
One island will be dedicated to entertainment and family tourism, while the other comprises an exclusive luxury resort. The two islands will add 2.2 kilometres of beach frontage, as well as three new hotels and a number of new tourist attractions.
The family resort island will see Jumeirah Group introduce new leisure concepts and services as well as a new family-oriented hotel. To boost guest experience, Wild Wadi Waterpark will be moved from its current road-side location closer to the beach, and will be more than double its existing size when fully completed.
Dubai Holding will also develop ‘Marine Park’, a first-of-its-kind marine life edutainment centre in the Middle East, with a live theatre of a 1,000 seat capacity that will attract world-class shows to showcase various elements of marine life.

Marsa Al Arab will also include a private marina and a yacht club, as well as diverse food and beverage offerings, as well as a helipad.
Complementing Madinat Jumeirah, the development will include a mixed-use convention centre capable of hosting large international conferences and festivals. The convention centre will be supported by a new hotel, offering a selection of services for businessmen and corporates.
The project will also include a large retail space stretching across 20,000 sq. m, which will replace the current Wild Wadi Water Park area.

The shopping centre will consist of international high-end brands, as well as a selection of restaurants and coffee shops to meet the needs of its luxurious shoppers. Marsa Al Arab will also offer 300 sea-front residential apartments in the heart of the development.
Together, the enhanced Wild Wadi and Marine Park will sprawl over an area of 2.5 million sq. ft.
The new family destination will house a dedicated theatre with a capacity of 1,700 seats, which will become home to the world-renowned show Cirque du Soleil for the first time in the Middle East.
Dubai Holding will develop 140 luxury villas on the ‘exclusive private island’, which will include a marina for its residents. Located on the left of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, the luxury villas will be operated by Jumeirah Group. The island will also host a boutique hotel equipped with world-class facilities that reflect ‘Marsa Al Arab’s status as an attractive destination for elite travellers.
Overall, Dubai Holding will add 2,400 hotel rooms to Jumeirah Group’s portfolio, bringing its total offering to 8,428 rooms. There will be 400 new F&B outlets throughout the destination.
The existing hotels in the vicinity will be transformed into a unified tourist destination.
The development will offer pedestrian pathways, a jogging track, large swimming pool and a cycling course, allowing its residents to practice a diverse selection of physical activities.
Location of the two islands – on the left is the luxury island, located behind Jumeirah Al Qasr and Madinat Jumeirah. On the right, the island located behind Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Jumeirah Beach.
Jumeirah Group will offer 10,000 additional parking spaces to accommodate the anticipated influx of visitors, as well as work closely with various government entities and other relevant companies to provide a rapid transport network to interconnect the resorts and entertainment destinations, facilitating fast and easy movement throughout Marsa Al Arab.
The project will break ground in June 2017 and will completed by late 2020.

In addition, Dubai Holding will launch the Dubai Pearl Museum to showcase a historical collection of rare and ancient pearls from the region and worldwide. The Dubai Pearl Museum aims to shed light on the lives of the divers as well as the tools they used to find the precious jewels, reflecting the UAE’s heritage, culture and national pride.
“The launch of this new and ambitious project is in line with the directives of the visionary leadership to provide the finest and rewarding tourist experiences for visitors to Dubai, as well as enhance Dubai’s position as a global tourist destination,” said Abdulla Al Habbai, Chairman, Dubai Holding.
“We are proud of the vital role that Dubai Holding plays in this sector through supporting innovation and contributing to the economic diversification of Dubai.”

(Pics)Apple’s Incredible New Retail Store in Dubai

Boasting unobstructed views of the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa, via a 180-foot wide, artistically designed carbon fiber array of motorized windows, Apple’s latest upscale retail store will be opening tomorrow, April 27th, 2017, at the swanky Dubai Mall in the United Arab Emirates.
Designed in collaborating with Foster + Partners — the same design team behind Cupertino’s brand-new Apple Park headquarters — the Dubai Mall Apple Store features an ever-changing array of 37.5-foot tall windows, overlain with super-strong carbon fiber panels that are capable of meticulously shifting orientation based on the fluctuations of external temperature in Dubai.
“To mitigate Dubai’s climate, Foster + Parters designed eighteen 37.5-foot-high motorized ‘Solar Wings’ that respond to the ever-changing environmental conditions,” the company wrote in its official press release about the grand-opening. “When the sun is at its hottest they cool the store, and in the evenings they open to welcome everyone to the public terrace. Inspired by the the traditional Arabic Mashrabiya, each ‘Solar Wing’ is locally fabricated from 340 carbon fiber reinforced polymer rods, and at 180 feet wide, the 18 panels make up one of the world’s largest kinetic art installations.”
These magnificent carbon fiber windows will also provide visitors an unobstructed view of one of Dubai’s greatest attractions: the Sama Dubai — a spectacular water fountain show that takes place every evening, and is conveniently located right below the Apple Store terrace at Dubai Mall.
Appropriately, Apple in its press release has invited visitors of the new location to enjoy the beautiful fountain array, which can be seen taking place in the first of two YouTube videos below. Also be sure to check out the second YouTube video, which gives us a glimpse of the Dubai Mall Apple Store, itself, and the surrounding area.

The company was sure to emphasize in its press release that the grand-opening of the Dubai Mall Apple Store is a way to draw more attention to its recently announced workshop series — dubbed Today at Apple — which will essentially embody a series of free education courses, focusing on a variety of topics including art, design, photography, and software coding, among other concepts.
“At the heart of every Apple Store is the drive to educate and inspire,” the company said, while adding that “Today at Apple will launch at Apple Dubai Mall and in all 495 Apple stores next month with new sessions across photo and video, music, coding, art and design, and more, led by highly-trained team members.”
The Dubai Mall Apple Store will also host a variety of high-profile events, many boasting live music, conversations with film-makers and photographers, and additional live workshops hosted by some of the world’s leading talent on the subject at hand.

Power cut plunges Dubai Mall into darkness

Dubai Mall, one of the world’s biggest shopping centres, was plunged into darkness on Monday evening after experiencing a power cut for nearly two hours.

According to photos posted on social media, hundreds of shoppers were forced to wander the mall in the dark. Lights went out and escalators stopped working at about 7.15pm local time.
At just before 9.15pm, Dubai Media, which initially announced the power outage, said the power had been restored.
The Dubai Mall issued a statement saying it regretted the inconvenience caused to shoppers and thanking them for their patience.
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority said the outage was caused by a problem with a cable at Dubai Mall Metro Station.
One Twitter user said earlier that shoppers were using the flashlight on their phones to navigate around the mall.
Another said: “Power still out, almost an hour now. No announcements from security or management. Very poor.”

Nautica relaunches in Dubai Mall as it looks ahead to Saudi Arabia

The American fashion brand Nautica relaunched its Dubai Mall store on Tuesday with new partner Apparel Group.
In an interview with Gulf News, Patricia Canavan, Vice President and General Manager — Nautica Licensing, said that there would be two further store openings this year in the GCC.

She added that the brand was targeting the Avenues mall in Kuwait and was looking to launch in Jeddah also.

Nautica, established in New York City in 1983, currently has 12 stores in the Gulf region, and is aiming to add 18 stores in the next five years, according to Canavan.

“From a population perspective Saudi Arabia represents the greatest opportunity for expansion. We are looking at opening in the tier two cities, as well,” she said.

The company also believes that Saudi Arabia also holds the biggest potential for the growth of their online business.

Apparel Group, a Dubai-based retail conglomerate, is the local partner for brands such as Calvin Klein, Cath Kidston and Tommy Hilfiger. It operates over 1,700 stores across the region.

Together, the senior Nautica official said, they have overhauled the flagship store in Dubai Mall.

“We are reintroducing the brand in various ways. It is a new retail concept for us in Dubai,” Canavan said.

The relaunch at Dubai Mall was spurred by the change in partnership, she said, adding that “there was a need to get out of certain locations that may not have been brand appropriate. Certain commercial centres become obsolete over time.”

Canavan said that Nautica was developing its relationship with the Apparel Group, who has the expertise and can give us feedback on the new product as we go and ensures that we do not alienate existing customers.

Dubai will remain the lifestyle brand’s hub, she said, despite Saudi Arabia potentially making up 50 per cent of the company’s business in the future.

This market “has done a better job than most at diversifying away from pure retail experiences,” Canavan said in the interview, noting that the future of malls was about engaging with customers, not simply trying to sell to them.

“Having ski slopes, having fountains, having parks — that’s the future of retail,” she said.

Apple’s third retail store in the country will open in The Dubai Mall on April 27.

The two-level store, located on both the ground floor near Pucci and Jimmy Choo, and the first floor near Paule Ka, will be officially opened at 4pm.
With a tagline “Creativity. Connected.”, Apple is targeting the country’s creative community that includes start-ups, independent art galleries, local app developers, boutiques, cafes and food trucks, according to the company.

This will be the third Apple store to open in the country with others at Mall of the Emirates and Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi.

Landmark Group founders inducted into retail hall of fame

Landmark Group founders inducted into retail hall of fame
The founders of Landmark Group, a Dubai-based multinational conglomerate, have been inducted into the Retail Hall of Fame during the recent 2017 World Retail Congress at Madinat Jumeirah Hotel in Dubai.
Chairman Micky Jagtiani and vice chairperson Renuka Jagtiani were given the award during a private ceremony the the global event.
Micky Jagtiani founded the Landmark Group in 1973 with a single store in Bahrain and has successfully grown it into one of the largest retail and hospitality conglomerates in the region. A constant innovator, he has created and conceptualised over 27 diverse brands, several of which are market leaders today.
The group has over 2,400 outlets across 30 million square feet, catering to a loyal customer base of over 30 million people across the Middle East, North Africa and the Indian subcontinent.
Landmark Group vice chairperson Renuka Jagtiani
Renuka Jagtiani has been closely involved with the group’s business endeavours for over two decades and was instrumental in creating the high-street fashion brand Splash in 1993. During this time, she has guided the
group’s corporate strategy, built its fashion and hospitality business from the ground up, led its expansion into new countries and launched its e-commerce platform.
Over the past four decades, the Landmark Group has established itself as a diversified international retail and hospitality conglomerate.
“Retail for me has always been more than a business, it is a way to life and it is about people who have helped me get here,” said Micky Jagtiani.
“The GCC has been my home for over 55 years; during this time I have seen it become a global powerhouse, thanks to the vision and passion of the region’s leadership.”
Renuka Jagtiani added: “As Landmark, our focus is value, we value those whose lives we touch. The customer is at the heart of our business, and we change and evolve with them.”

Kuwait’s Kamco buys Amazon’s UK warehouse

Kuwait-based Kamco Investment Company on Sunday said it has purchased Amazon UK’s largest distribution warehouse for $77 million (AED281m).

The warehouse in Dunfermline, Scotland, has been leased to Amazon UK Services until October 2031. Amazon employs 2,100 staff at the warehouse, which handles 38 percent of the 143 million packages that e-retailer handles per annum.
Kamco said it aims to achieve a targeted cash yield of 6.50 percent per annum and an expected internal rate of return (IRR) of 7 percent per annum during the investment period.
Faisal Sarkhou, chief executive officer, Kamco, said: “This achievement marks yet another step towards reaching our strategic objectives and future vision to enhance our operational performance and expand our real estate investments platform on a regional and international scale, in a way that is beneficial to our shareholders.”
Company chief investment officer Khaled Fouad said the transaction highlights the acquisition of a new category of income-generating assets that are leased to Amazon, in aim of diversifying sources of income.
Kamco’s alternative investment team currently manages more than $250 million in real estate across 11 regional and international properties.

World Retail Congress opens in Dubai

The World Retail Congress (WRC) begins on Tuesday in Dubai amid weak consumer demand, caused by a strong dollar and job concerns. Brick-and-mortar retail has also suffered as ecommerce begins to grow in popularity across the region.
The 11th edition of the event, being held at the Madinat Jumeirah from April 4 to April 8 under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, will see over 1,500 delegates in attendance.

With opening remarks from Sultan Al Mansouri, the UAE’s Minister of Economy, and Majid Saif Al Ghurair, chairman of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, attendees are expected to be addressed over the course of the four day event by industry leaders such as Jo Malone, founder of Jo Malone, Ravi Thakran, group president of LVMH for South & South East Asia and Middle East, and Robert Welanetz, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Properties.

Developers in the UAE are currently hoping to capitalise on the growing number of visitors to the country in the run up to Expo 2020.
Dubai hopes to attract 20 million tourists that year, an increase of around five million in the next three years.

Retailers are currently focusing on delivering unique experiences to differentiate their product, whilst utilising insight into consumer behaviours and attitudes to stay agile and retain customers.

A government emphasis on the tourism sector, competitive deals, and tax-free salaries spurred a decade-long boom in the retail sector in Dubai.

However, in an Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) economic report released at the end of 2016, Monica Malek, Chief Economist at ADCB, said, “The rise in inflation over our forecast horizon should continue to contribute to the soft consumer-spending backdrop. Wider consumer sentiment is expected to remain weak due to job uncertainties.”

Hamad Bu Amim, president and CEO, Dubai Chamber, said in a statement: “After the tremendous success of the 10th World Retail Congress in Dubai, the chamber is very pleased to host the 11th edition here again. This year’s theme is very topical and reflects the changes in the retail sector, especially the growing trend of ecommerce. More so, Dubai’s retail market is forecasted to surpass $52 billion in sales by 2020 with average annual growth of more than 8 per cent.”

Amazon clinches deal to buy Middle East online retailer Souq.com

Amazon.com has agreed to buy Middle East online retailer Souq.com, thwarting a last-minute bid by Dubai billionaire Mohamed Alabbar’s Emaar Malls, first revealed by Arabian Business on Friday.
The value and terms of the agreement, which deal adviser Goldman Sachs called “the biggest-ever technology M&A transaction in the Arab world”, were not disclosed.
But sources with knowledge of the matter said Amazon was paying less than Emaar’s $800 million offer, making it lower than the $1 billion valuation at the time of a Souq.com funding round last year.
One of the sources said on Monday Souq.com would have had to break an exclusivity agreement with Amazon if it had accepted the Emaar Malls offer at this stage.
Reuters reported last week that Amazon had agreed in principle to buy Souq.com, which was co-founded 12 years ago by Syrian-born entrepreneur Ronaldo Mouchawar.
“By becoming part of the Amazon family, we’ll be able to vastly expand our delivery capabilities and customer selection much faster, as well as continue Amazon’s great track record of empowering sellers,” Mouchawar said in a statement on Tuesday.
In a deal document seen by Reuters, Goldman said the acquisition would accelerate Amazon’s entry into “attractive Middle East countries with significant growth potential given e-commerce only represents (roughly) 2 percent of retail sales”.
The deal was endorsed by the Dubai government, which is increasingly focusing on technology, as the emirate expands its retail footprint in the region.
Dubai’s Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum said it showed the city state’s position “as a regional and global hub for the world’s biggest and leading organisations”.
The acquisition is expected to close later this year, according to the joint statement on Tuesday.
For Alabbar, who made his name as chairman of Emaar Properties, the Dubai government-linked developer of the world’s tallest building, losing out on Souq.com is unlikely to crimp his ambitions to move into e-commerce.
He announced last year he planned to launch his own e-commerce firm Noon in partnership with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, a soverign wealth fund.
Emaar Malls, the retail unit of Emaar Properties, is the operator of the Dubai Mall, which accounts for around 50 percent of the emirate’s luxury goods spending and is one of the Middle East’s largest shopping centres. South Africa’s Naspers Ltd, which has a 36.4 percent stake in Souq.com, has declined to comment on the Amazon deal. Tiger Global Management also has a stake in Souq.com.
The value of the deal was not disclosed, but was in the region of $580 million, according to sources.

Confirmed: Emaar Malls submits $800m bid for Souq.com

Emaar said the acquisition would be in line with the strategy to align e-commerce with physical shopping
Emaar said the acquisition would be in line with the strategy to align e-commerce with physical shopping
Emaar Malls has submitted an $800 million bid to take over e-commerce giant Souq.com, the company has confirmed.
In a bourse statement, Emaar Malls confirmed that it lodged the offer with Souq.com’s shareholders “in line with the strategy to align e-commerce with physical shopping”.
The statement, signed by Ahmad Thani Al Matrooshi, said the bid has not been accepted as yet.
“If the bid is approved, the impact on Emaar Mall’s profit for the quarter in which the acquisition is completed and for the year 2017, will not be material,” the statement added.
Quoting sources familiar to the bid, Arabian Business reported at the weekend that Emaar Malls, a unit of Emaar Properties, had lodged the bid to take over Souq.com, which is thought to have included a $500 million convertible deposit.
Last week Amazon agreed in principle to a 100 percent takeover of Souq.com, in a deal believed be worth around $580m.
However, it is understood that Souq has an “exclusivity” clause as part of its negotiations with Amazon – meaning it would not be able to accept a counter offer while still in sale talks.
Sources suggest the Amazon deal is being driven by New York based Tiger Global Management which has a substantial stake in Souq.
However, other small shareholders in Souq are yet to commit to a sale that could see Souq undervalued by almost $220 million, in comparison to the offer from Emaar Malls.
Souq’s smaller shareholder include South Africa’s Naspers Ltd, Standard Chartered Private Equity, IFC (a member of the World Bank Group) and Baillie Gifford.
Souq.com raised $75 million from Cape Town-based Naspers in March 2014, in a deal it said at the time was the largest for an Internet-based business in the region. But it is not clear whether Naspers is now backing the Amazon deal.

UAE’s Al-Futtaim plans new Ikea stores in Middle East

UAE-based Al-Futtaim is seeking to open new stores in Egypt while stepping into Oman, according to a senior company executive.

“We are currently working on expansion in Muscat, Oman, and are still studying the possibility of opening more stores in Egypt and some other countries,” John Kersten, managing director, Ikea, told Arabian Business.
At present, Al-Futtaim holds franchise rights for the UAE, Qatar, Egypt and Oman. In the UAE, it will open its fourth store by early 2019, while its first store in Egypt’s Cairo Festival City was opened in 2013.
According to Kersten, Ikea has reduced prices on 2,500 items this year in the UAE – a practice that it follows year-on-year.
“If you take the catalogue from the UK or the US and the UAE, you will have some pleasant surprises there. We do lower our prices every year,” he said.
The company executive revealed despite 2016 being a tough year, sales have not dropped in the UAE.
“Normally, if times are getting worse, it is getting better with Ikea. We had a quite a magnificent year,” he said, without providing details.

UAE’s Paris Gallery plans to open 30 new stores

Mohammed Abdul Rahim Al Fahim, CEO of Paris Gallery Group of Companies.
UAE-based retailer Paris Gallery has announced plans to open 30 new stores across the Middle East over the next five years.
The company said in a statement that its expansion would focus mainly on the Gulf region and would see its workforce grow to about 5,100 employees, up from 3,500.
The total projected retail area in operation will reach 3.2 million square feet by 2021, it added.
The expansion plan will take the total number of Paris Gallery stores to 116 stores by 2021. To date, its stores number 86 branches across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Iraq, Azerbaijan and other countries.
Paris Gallery Group focuses on the luxury products sector and has a wide range of products including perfumes, cosmetics, watches, eyewear, accessories, leather goods and fashion, from more than 800 global brands.
Mohammed Abdul Rahim Al Fahim, CEO of Paris Gallery Group of Companies, said: “The group has recorded steady growth in the retail and distribution business since 2006… We are keen to study and analyze the market to identify trends and opportunities in the retail sector.”

Maf opens Mall of Egypt in Cairo, complete with indoor ski slope

Majid Al Futtaim (Maf), the conglomerate behind Mall of the Emirates, has opened its Dh2.6 billion Mall of Egypt in Cairo featuring Africa’s first indoor ski slope.
The mall, which is part of a Dh5.1bn investment in the North African country, has 165,000 square metres of gross leasable area, with 350 local and international retailers, 21 Vox cinemas and a family entertainment centre, the company said yesterday.
Maf first entered Egypt 15 years ago with Carrefour supermarkets in Cairo and Alexandria.
“Egypt is an important market for Majid Al Futtaim and launching mega projects like Mall of Egypt reaffirms our strong belief in the vast opportunities available in the Egyptian market,” said Ghaith Shocair, the chief executive of shopping malls at Majid Al Futtaim Properties, a unit of Maf.
Maf, which has 21 shopping malls, said in 2015 it planned to double in size within five years as it increases investments across Arabian Gulf countries and Egypt.
The group is forging ahead with expansion plans after registering an 8 per cent increase in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation to Dh4.1bn last year thanks to broad-based growth.
The company will carry forward plans to expand in markets such as the UAE, Egypt, Oman and Saudi Arabia and will also bolster its operations in Africa and Central Asia.
Maf, whose revenue rose by 9 per cent to Dh29.9bn last year, attributed this growth to new hypermarkets, supermarkets and family entertainment centres across the company’s geographic reach.
In June, the group announced a 10-year plan to invest Dh30bn in the UAE, its biggest market.
It plans to open 10 City Centre malls, six hotels, 28 cinemas, 40 Carrefour supermarkets and a 740,000 sq metre master-planned community over the next 10 years, which will generate about 170,000 jobs directly and indirectly.
Maf is also launching an indoor ski slope in Saudi Arabia as part of a 14bn Saudi riyal (Dh13.71bn) investment in the kingdom.
In Oman, Maf announced in May a further investment of Dh5bn over the next four years.
Maf, which has exclusive rights to the Carrefour supermarket franchise in 38 markets across the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia, last year opened 10 supermarkets and 10 hypermarkets, including one in Nairobi, Kenya – the company’s first hypermarket in Africa.
Last week it opened its second Carrefour hypermarket in Nairobi, at the Two Rivers Mall.
Besides its 21 malls, Maf owns and operates 12 hotels and three mixed-use communities, with further developments under construction.
The conglomerate welcomed 172 million customers last year to it shopping malls, a rise of 2 per cent on 2015, while occupancy at its retail centres was at 98 per cent. Revenue per available room at its hotels fell by 8 per cent last year compared with 2015.

UAE’s Al Futtaim launches new 100-store mall with IKEA, ACE in Dubai

The mall, located in Jebel Ali area, is set to be completed by Q1, 2019
UAE developer Al-Futtaim Group has launched a massive new retail project within a 15 million sqft mixed use project in Dubai’s Jebel Ali area – close to Ibn Battuta Mall.
The mall is being built as part of the first phase of the Wasl Gate mixed use development, which is being developed by Dubai’s Wasl Properties.
Spread across 78,500 sq metres, the new mall will include around 55,000 sqm of leasable space and feature 100 stores, along with flagship IKEA and ACE outlets.

It will also include a food court and cafe-style dining, entertainment, a hypermarket and over 2,000 parking spots – all set to be completed by Q1, 2019.
The IKEA store – the second in Dubai – will be spread across 30,000 sqm with restaurant concepts, coffee shops and a new in-store bakery. It will be fully integrated into the mall.
The store, which will also have an international training centre, will become the brand’s newest concept store globally. A mobile application will allow customers to make purchases by scanning the products at the store and having them delivered at home.

Spread over 4,000 sqm, the new ACE outlet will also be a “concept store not seen before in Dubai”, offering more than 33,000 products from ACE, worx power tools, Addis home products and Broil King barbeque brands. It will also feature an in-store cafe and garden centre with plants and accessories.
The store will be ACE’s third in Dubai, following the launch of the first store in 1991.
The retailers for almost all the 100 stores in the mall have been confirmed and will be announced by the end of the second quarter, confirmed Steven Cleaver, director – Shopping Centres UAE at Al Futtaim.
He also said there would be entertainment options, although details are yet to be finalised.
“We are done with the design and the construction contract is about to be awarded,” he told reporters at the groundbreaking event.
The name of the property will be unveiled in Q3 2017. The financial details about the project including the development value were not disclosed.
The mall aims to cater to the growing population in Jebel Ali and residents from Marina, the TECOM free zones and also those travelling from Abu Dhabi.
It will also cater to the large number of residents who are eventually expected to live within the Wasl Gate community.
Despite strong competition in Dubai’s retail landscape – the massive Ibn Battuta Mall is located in close proximity – Cleaver said he is confident about gaining footfall.
“I think the demand we have seen for IKEA in Dubai is huge – it is very busy all the time. We felt the time is right to put another one here and that’s a huge point of difference. ACE will be different as well. As a developer, we are confident that the point of difference we have will capture trade on the south side of Dubai and Abu Dhabi,” said Cleaver.
He also conceded that the retail market was hit by the tough economic conditions, but said the developer was focussing on meeting future demand.
“Retail has been tough for a couple of years and I think it is going to continue through this year. But like everybody else, we look forward. We continue to look for opportunity and investment. And it’s important that we continue working with our retailers both within Al Futtaim retail and the other groups to make sure we understand how people are performing.”
So far, the mall operator has not been forced to reduce rents.
“It’s not a case of being forced to reduce rents, it’s just working closely with retailers to understand how to make sure everyone is surviving,” he added.
Officials also confirmed that the second phase of the Wasl Gate project will include the 1,457 residential units along with a hospitality and entertainment offering, a sports complex, K-12 schools with international curriculums, and a central park connecting the community’s commercial and residential neighbourhoods.

New FENDI Kids store opens at Dubai Mall

Founded by Adele and Edoardo Fendi in 1925, the eponymous Rome-based fashion House has gained a new space in Dubai. A playful, bright and stylish new Fendi Kids flagship store has launched on the second floor of The Dubai Mall next to Dolce & Gabbana Kids shop. The new venue has opened its doors to the public in February 2017.

Saudi’s Alhokair plans to build Egypt shopping mall

Saudi-nased Alhokair franchises brands such as Zara and Marks and Spencer in the kingdom.

Saudi-nased Alhokair franchises brands such as Zara and Marks and Spencer in the kingdom.
The board of Egypt’s Medinet Nasr for Housing and Development (MNHD) has approved an offer from a unit of Saudi Arabian retailer Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair to build a mall at MNHD’s Teegan development, the firm said on Tuesday.
Under the proposed deal, Alhokair, which franchises brands such as Zara and Marks and Spencer in the kingdom, will own and operate the mall for 50 years before transferring it to MNHD, who in the meantime will receive a share of the mall’s revenues.
MNHD said the new mall would have a gross leasable area of 68,500 square metres and would take three years to construct.
“Such deals should help MNHD to significantly improve on its financial performance and balance sheet, enabling it to unlock significant value from its unutilised land bank,” Cairo’s Naeem Brokerage said in a note.
The Teegan development is located in the east of the Egyptian capital, across from Cairo International Airport, and will ultimately cover 3.5 million square metres.

Emaar Malls reports strong growth in 2016

Emaar Malls reports strong growth in 2016
Emaar Malls reported a growth in fourth-quarter (October to December 2016) net profit by four per cent to AED 452 million ($123 million), compared to the Q4 2015 net profit of AED 435 million ($118 million).
Emaar Malls (DFM: EMAARMALLS), the shopping malls and retail business majority-owned by global property developer Emaar Properties, has recorded a net profit of AED 1.874 billion ($510 million) during 2016, an increase of 13 per cent over the full-year 2015 net profit of AED 1.656 billion ($451 million). FY 2016 revenue recorded a growth of 8 per cent to AED 3.227 billion ($879 million) compared to FY 2015 revenue of AED 2.992 billion ($815 million).
Emaar Malls reported a growth in fourth-quarter (October to December 2016) net profit by four per cent to AED 452 million ($123 million), compared to the Q4 2015 net profit of AED 435 million ($118 million).
Revenue for Q4 2016 increased to AED 835 million ($227 million), which is 8 per cent more than Q3 2016 revenue of AED 774 million ($211 million).
The shopping malls assets of Emaar Malls – The Dubai Mall, Dubai Marina Mall, Souk Al Bahar, Gold & Diamond Park and the community shopping centres – welcomed 125 million visitors during 2016, similar to annual footfall during 2015.
The Dubai Mall set a similar footfall level of 80 million visitors for three consecutive years despite ongoing expansion in and around the mall, reiterating its reputation as the world’s most-visited retail and lifestyle destination. The gross leasable area (GLA) occupancy levels averaged 96 per cent during 2016.
Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar Malls and Emaar Properties, said: “As a global business and leisure hub, Dubai is among the top preferred destination for international retailers to expand their operations. Emaar Malls has created a dynamic platform of shopping malls that catalyse the growth of Dubai’s retail sector while offering the nation’s residents and visitors with exciting retail and leisure choices.
“In today’s digital age, we are focused on leveraging advanced technologies to ensure that our visitors have memorable experiences at our malls. We will continue to introduce new innovations, strengthened further with digital strategies to ensure that our malls stay ahead of the curve, and redefine the retail sector.
“The positive growth of the Dubai economy, led by the smart, futuristic vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, will continue to power our growth. We are now expanding our footprint with next-generation malls in Dubai Creek Harbour and Dubai Hills Estate that will make the city the first choice for retail.”

Costa Coffee opens first Middle East drive-through Hotelier Middle East

Costa Coffee opens first Middle East drive-through Hotelier Middle East
Costa Coffee opens first Middle East drive-through

Located near Kite Beach on Jumeirah Beach Road in Dubai, the two-storey Costa Coffee building is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Emirates Leisure Retail chief operating officer Kevin Zajax said: “This is a milestone occasion, and the latest offering in our response to what our customers are looking for. They want to be able to get a handcrafted Costa Coffee at any time of the day, sometimes without leaving their car.
“We brought Costa here in 1999 with the first store outside the UK, and now we have the first purpose-built Costa drive-through in the Middle East.”
The staff at the new site have visited London to work in the brand’s UK drive-throughs and “to learn how it is done”, added Zajax
Costa is developing its food offering with a new ‘made fresh on site’ deli range that is rolling out to more of its UAE outlets and adding new brews to the coffee menu, including the Old Paradise Street limited edition.
And to celebrate the launch of the new drive-through, Costa is giving away Jeep Wrangler. Every customer that spends AED30 (US $8) between January 9 and February 9 will be entered into the prize draw.

Mall of Qatar launches ‘softly’, less than 50% of shops open

Mall of Qatar, Doha’s new shopping concept with 500,000 sq m of retail space, officially opened its doors to the public on Saturday, with 220 stores launch on day one of the “soft opening”.

Officials said the mall is 99 percent leased, with 92 percent currently in the fit-out phase.
“We are opening over 220 stores on our first day, which is 60 percent of the gross leasable area,” said Ahmed Al Mulla, CEO.
He added: “After working towards a goal for many years, seeing it come to life is one of the most incredible experiences. Mall of Qatar marks a new era of shopping in Qatar – merging shopping and entertainment at our regional super mall.
“Mall culture plays a large role in Middle Eastern, and especially GCC society. We are pushing the boundaries and elevating the mall experience with our brand new, and innovative offering.”
When fully operational, the sprawling complex will boast over 500 shops including 100 F&B outlets.
As well as shops, the mall will premiere the world’s first resident troupe – offering mall-wide entertainment with 52 weeks of shows on a 360-degree custom developed revolving stage, as well as a multilevel family entertainment complex.
The mall will also feature a 19-screen Cineplex inclusive of IMAX’s revolutionary laser projection and 12 channel immersive sound system on the region’s largest screen. The cinema will also feature the latest 4D projection technology screen, 7 VIP screens, an 8-lane bowling alley, and in-theatre gourmet food services.

Abu Dhabi’s Marina Mall embarks on $810m extension project

Marina Mall Abu Dhabi, owned by the National Investment Company (NIC), has announced that it will be breaking ground in early 2017 on major mall improvements worth AED300 million, in addition to a new AED3 billion extension.
Marina Mall Abu Dhabi will be undergoing a renovation and growing in size with a 120,000 sq m extension designed by DP Architects, the company behind the design of Dubai Mall.

The new extension plan will be divided into two parts, the north and south side of the mall, which will include the latest retail and F&B brands and new market entry brands exclusive to the mall.
Marina Mall Abu Dhabi will also expand its car parking facilities, a statement said.  
Jihad Dirani, head of leasing at Marina Mall Abu Dhabi, said: “We are entering an exciting phase of Marina Mall’s development, as we continue our journey to deliver an excellent visitor experience. We are currently in the process of selecting the right suppliers and contractors; whilst looking to evolve our leasing portfolio.” 
In 2006, the mall went through major expansion plans, which included the addition of a revolving restaurant tower, as well as an increase in mall facilities and retail outlets.
Marina Mall is also home to Marina Eye – Abu Dhabi’s first and only observatory wheel.

Amazon said to consider acquiring Dubai-based online retailer for $1bn#Economy

Souq.com is known as ‘Amazon of the Middle East’
Amazon does not have big foothold in Middle East (Reuters)

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Amazon.com is in preliminary talks to acquire the Dubai-based online retail market Souq.com for about $1bn, according to a Bloomberg News report.
Souq.com, known as the “Amazon of the Middle East,” currently offers roughly 1.5 million products across the Middle East, primarily in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Amazon does not have much of a foothold in the region.
In September, Souq.com hired banker Goldman Sachs to find potential buyers for at least 30 percent of the company, according to the Bloomberg report. Tiger Global Management and South Africa Naspers – the company’s primary investors – also may consider selling their shares, it added.
Big e-commerce ventures appear to be trending in the Middle East. Two weeks ago, Dubai business magnate Mohamed Alabbar announced the launch of a $1bn regional e-commerce site in a joint venture with the Saudi sovereign wealth fund and other Gulf investors.
Noon.com is to go online in January with a 50 percent investment from the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund and the rest from about 60 investors led by Alabbar, who also heads the emirate’s real estate giant Emaar.
He told a news conference that distribution centres are being set up in the Saudi cities of Riyadh and Jeddah, along with a giant warehouse the size of 60 football stadiums in Dubai.
“We expect to become a world player but will concentrate firstly on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates,” said the president of Emaar, the company that built the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
With an initial inventory of 20 million products, the online retailer aims to expand to Egypt, the Arab world’s most-populous state, at the end of next year or early in 2018.
Alabbar, cited by Bloomberg, said Noon would be traded on stock markets in five to seven years, and aims to be profitable within five years.

Alabbar, Saudi sovereign wealth fund to launch $1bn e-commerce platform

Mohamed Alabbar and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) are teaming up to launch a Middle Eastern e-commerce platform, the Dubai-based billionaire announced on Sunday.
At the media launch at Dubai Opera, Alabbar described the new e-commerce venture – Noon.com – as “game changing”.
“We’re turning the e-commerce environment in Middle East upside down,” he said, “and then we’re going to turn it upside down again in another six months.”
Alabbar revealed that Noon.com will have 20 million products on the platform on day one when it launches next January. The average shopping mall in Dubai has 1.5 million goods, he said.
The warehouse facility in Dubai is the size of 60 football pitches, he added.
Investors are initially contributing $1 billion to the project, which will be 50 percent owned by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, Alabbar said. The other 50 percent will be owned by Alabbar and other regional investors.
Noon.com will launch operations in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, with launches planned for other Arab countries at a later date.

Business as normal for Marks & Spencer in Gulf, despite cuts elsewhere

Marks & Spencer (M&S)’s department stores in the Gulf will be unaffected by the British retail giant’s decision to close down more than 80 shops in the UK and around the world.
The company announced on Tuesday that it would shut 30 outlets in the UK, and 53 overseas, including most of its fully owned stores. Altogether, it will shutter operations in 10 international markets, including France and China, at a cost of up to 200 million pounds over the next year.
In the Gulf, M&S outlets are operated by Dubai’s Al Futtaim, and the retailer said that that relationship would continue. 
“We are fully committed to our franchise partnership with Al Futtaim and our franchise stores in the Gulf operated by Al-Futtaim are unaffected by today’s proposals,” an M&S UK spokesperson told Arabian Business in response to emailed questions. “Going forward we propose to operate with fewer wholly-owned markets and have a greater focus on our established joint ventures and franchise partnerships.
“Customers can continue to shop with us at our stores in the region.”
Al Futtaim has held the regional franchise rights for M&S since 1998, and the franchise partnership boasts 26 stores located in Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar and the UAE, according to the company’s website.
M&S, whose shares have fallen 22 percent so far this year, reported an 18.6 percent slump in first-half profit and another fall in quarterly clothing sales.
Steve Rowe, a 26-year company veteran, took over as CEO in April and has the tough task of reviving a 132-year-old British institution that has fallen out of fashion over the last decade.
“These are tough decisions, but vital to building a future M&S that is simpler, more relevant, multi-channel and focused on delivering sustainable returns,” he said.
So far, Rowe’s priority has been trying to turn around M&S’s underperforming clothing and homewares business.
But on Tuesday he outlined how the firm will streamline its British store estate of over 900 stores over five years and detailed a rationalisation of its international operations.

Carrefour set to open 10 new stores in the UAE by 2017

Hypermarket chain Carrefour plans to open ten new stores in the UAE in 2017, according to a statement on Sunday from Majid Al Futtaim, which holds the Carrefour franchise in the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia. Carrefour has set a target to reach 140 hypermarkets and 210 supermarkets in the countries in which Majid Al Futtaim operates by 2018.

Saudisation forces closure of 800 mobile phone shops

A reported 800 telecoms shops in Saudi Arabia have closed since new rules came into force requiring 100 percent of staff to be Saudi nationals.
Under a ramped-up Saudisation policy from the government, all stores selling mobile communications devices had to ensure that at least 50 percent of employees were Saudi citizens from June 6; the requirement rose to 100 percent on September 3.
Saudi authorities have been conducting raids on shops to ensure the new rules are being implemented – and have recorded multiple violations, Saudi Gazette reported.
The newspaper said that 800 establishments have been forced to shut as they were unable to meet the new requirements, while others were flouting the rules.
Following the latest inspection, in the Eastern Province, the Labour and Social Development Office recorded 41 violations out of 71 visits.
An official source was quoted as saying: “A total of 1,982 establishments have adhered to the Saudisation decision.
“The office visited 4,953 establishments in all. Only 2,023 of the visited establishments were running and 1,739 Saudis were employed in them.”
Mohammad Al Laghbi, the committee head of Jazan municipality labour office, said the telecoms Saudisation plan had succeeded in increasing jobs for Saudi citizens, however, more training is needed in mobile phone repair to offer those services to customers.
“There aren’t enough Saudis who are well-trained to offer mobile repair,” he said. “This has led to several telecommunication shops reaching agreements with expatriate technicians who will work from home.”

SPAR International expands into Albania

SPAR has opened its first food stores in Albania through a partnership with Balfin Group.
The two hypermarkets in Tirana East Gate and in the QTU shopping centre span 7,200 and 3,800 square metres respectively.
Balfin Group is the largest private company operating in Albania. The company entered into food retail in 2005 with the development of the Euromax chain of stores and has been operating 15 large food retail stores under the Carrefour brand.
As part of Balfin Group, SPAR Albania will convert the current 15 stores. By the end of 2017, Balfin Group plans to open over 100 supermarkets and 10 hypermarkets as part of a €50 million investment in the country.
The entry into Albania means that SPAR currently operates in 44 countries. SPAR International reported global retail sales in 2015 of €33 billion from over 12,100 stores across four continents.
SPAR International managing director, Tobias Wasmuht said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Balfin, a leading privately owned Albanian business Group, to develop SPAR Supermarkets and INTERSPAR Hypermarkets in Albania. Working in true co-operation with the Balfin Group, we are able to unite the best of international with the best of local, creating an excellent proposition of value, service, quality and choice for our customers in Albania.”
The launch of the two hypermarkets has been complemented with a television campaign and city wide outdoor advertising.

Saudi retailer Jarir reports flat Q3 net profit

Jarir Marketing, one of Saudi Arabia’s largest retailers by market value, posted flat third-quarter net profit on Thursday, and noted a drop in its non-operating expenses.
It made a net profit of 220 million riyals ($58.7 million) in the three months to Sept. 30, from 218.5 million riyals in the same period a year earlier, it said in a bourse statement.
Jarir warned on March 8 that its sales would plunge by as much as 30 percent in the first quarter of this year, the result of a decline in consumer spending as low oil prices weakened the kingdom’s economy.

McDonald’s to sell Singapore, Malaysian franchise to Saudi group

McDonald’s is set to agree a deal to sell 20-year franchise rights for its Singapore and Malaysia outlets to Saudi Arabia’s Reza group for up to $400 million, as part of a re-jig of its Asian business, people familiar with the matter said.
Reza Food Services Co. Ltd, which owns and operates McDonald’s restaurants in the western and southern region of Saudi Arabia, has tapped Malaysian bank CIMB (CIMB.KL) to finance the transaction, said two of the sources, who declined to be identified as the deal has not been publicly announced.
The move is in line with McDonald’s plans to bring in partners as it switches to a less capital-intensive franchise model in Asia.
One person familiar with the Southeast Asian deal said McDonald’s was keen to tie up with regional family-owned groups and local tycoons as it sought out long-term partners rather than buyout firms, which usually cash out of a business after a few years.
Basic terms of the agreement had been finalised and the deal was expected to be completed by the year-end, the person said.
CIMB declined to comment, while there was no immediate response from McDonald’s. Reuters was not immediately able to reach Reza for a comment.
Sources said CIMB would provide the bulk of the term loan to back the deal, and the financing would be denominated in both Malaysian ringgit and Singapore dollars.
In July, McDonald’s had said it was seeking franchise partners for its restaurants in Singapore and Malaysia and was negotiating with parties, but did not provide any details or a timeline.
McDonald’s has about 120 restaurants in Singapore and about 260 in Malaysia.
Citing sources, Reuters reported last month that McDonald’s had received final bids from at least three groups for its China and Hong Kong outlets.

Liverpool FC set to open first MidEast shop in Abu Dhabi

Premier League football giant Liverpool is set to open an official shop in Abu Dhabi store, with a free in-store event to be hosted by club ambassador and former striker Robbie Fowler.
The event will take place on Thursday September 29 and fans will be able to take part in a Q&A, meet and greet and signing session with Robbie, Liverpool said in a statement.
The LFC Abu Dhabi store is opening in conjunction with partner Pioneer Group and offers fans across the region access to the full range of New Balance replica kit as well as authentic Reds merchandise, apparel and fashion accessories, the statement added.
The Abu Dhabi store is the ninth official global LFC retail standalone store, and the first to be opened in the Middle East.
The club is currently looking to expand its retail operations across the Middle East with a focus to expand into Dubai.
Mike Cox, LFC director of merchandising, said: “We’re really excited to be opening the first of our planned Middle East stores in Abu Dhabi, where Liverpool FC has such a strong and passionate following. We are delighted to be able to work with Pioneer Group to offer our fans in the region access to authentic LFC merchandise across a range of product categories.”
Samir Syed, retail manager at Pioneer Group, added: “The launch of Liverpool FC’s Abu Dhabi store is a milestone event for football lovers in the UAE, and Pioneer Group is privileged to work with an iconic club to bring high-quality merchandise and further build on its popularity among the soccer fans in the country and region.”

Meydan Mall One to have world’s biggest dancing fountain

Meydan Group has revealed more details about its plans to build the Meydan One Mall in Dubai, which will feature the largest dancing water fountain in the world, measuring 400m in width and 100m in height.

The centre point of the much anticipated Meydan One mega development, launched in August 2015 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Meydan One Mall will cover more than 30,000 sq m of indoor and outdoor space, with 529 shops including two major department stores and an 11,200 sq m hypermarket.
Unveiling the new Meydan One Mall branding, logo and visual identity at Cityscape Global this week, the Meydan Group showed a sample model of the mall’s retractable roof, which will be opened in the cooler, winter months to create an alfresco shopping and dining atmosphere.
A 25,000 sq m indoor multi-purpose sports facility will be located within the Meydan One Mall, providing regulation size sports fields and courts to cater to football, basketball, volleyball, squash, racquetball, paddle ball, table tennis, badminton, indoor cricket, mixed martial arts, boxing, jogging, softball, baseball batting cage and a golf driving range, while skiing and snowboarding will be facilitated on the world’s longest ski slope, measured at 1km.
Outdoor sports options will include football pitches, mountain biking, walking and running trails, a skateboard park and a BMX park.
The mall will also feature more than 90 food and beverage outlets, a 20-screen cinema with a food court hosting an additional 20 outlets, as well as a 400m Central Canyon flanked by a collection of flagship luxury stores. It will be serviced by car parking facilities with more than 12,000 spaces.
Meydan chairman Saeed Humaid Al Tayer said: “Dubai is a city well known for creating and breaking world records, in setting new benchmarks in quality and once in a lifetime experiences. In our vision for Meydan One we have worked hard to create all the wonders of a retail and leisure experience into one space, making this the number one destination for the UAE and indeed, the Middle East.”
Meydan’s vision began with the completion of the Grandstand in 2010 and was underlined by the Group’s role in the development of Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City, specifically District One, a collection of premium villas within the heart of new Dubai.
The company said the construction of Meydan One will complete its commitment to helping “create the future of Dubai”.

Landmark Group partners to open numerous stores in Reem Mall

A new agreement between Landmark Group and the Reem Mall will bring concepts from the region’s leading retail and hospitality conglomerate to the shopping center. 
Reem Mall is recognized as one of the supreme destinations on Reem Island for shopping and socializing.
“Reem Mall is set to transform the retail landscape in Abu Dhabi, and this significant new agreement with Landmark Group brings some of the world’s most popular brands to one convenient location,” Shane Eldstrom, chief operating officer for Reem Mall, said.
The mall, which is two million square feet, will open 23 new stores in the UAE capital in 2018. Within the newly signed agreement, Landmark Group will bring Centrepoint, Home Centre, Max, Iconic, Sports One and Shoexpress. The Groups’ highly recognized franchise brands such as New Look, Reiss, Adidas Kids, Ecco, Koton, Yours London, Lipsy, Steve Madden, Carpisa, Nose, Pablosky, Aerosoles, Kurt Geiger, Stride Rite, Puket, Blocco 31, Kazar and Loriblu will add to the retail options within the shopping mall.
With the numerous store offering, Landmark Group will occupy roughly 200,000 square feet of the entire mall.
“Landmark Group shares our passion and commitment to the highest quality standards in retail and customer care, which makes them the perfect partner to help bring Abu Dhabi’s most anticipated mall to life,” Eldstrom said. “We look forward to continuing our successful collaboration into 2017 and beyond.” 
Not only will the center offer 85 food and beverage outlets for the perfect mix of education and entertainment, but Reem Mall will also host numerous entertainment options for guests of all ages, including the world’s largest indoor snow-play park.
“Abu Dhabi’s impressive mall development offers great potential for retail growth. Its vibrant shopping, arts and entertainment culture is a great attraction for both residents and tourists, and as the offering grows, it increases opportunity for the retail industry,” Manu Jeswani, director of Landmark Group, said. “Landmark Group is strategically expanding its presence in Abu Dhabi and our partnership with Reem Mall will enable us to bring our offering even closer to our customers. We look forward to working with the mall team on the launch of this great new project.”
Reem Mall was developed by NREC and UPAC . Construction began in 2015 and the 450 store facility is expected to open in 2018. The retail and leisure center is located in one on the most social and up and coming communities in Abu Dhabi.

BHS stores to close in Dubai and Sharjah after collapse

Five BHS stores in Dubai and Sharjah are set to close after the British retail major collapsed in March.
Al Maya Group, a Dubai company that owns the franchise to BHS in the emirate, said its five BHS stores located in Dubai Mall, Festival City, Al Ghurair Centre, Lamcy Plaza and Sharjah City Centre would close by the end of the year.
“Al Maya owns the franchise to these stores so they do not have to close, but the company has chosen to close them,” the Al Maya buyer Noor Tayyaba told The National.
The BHS group collapsed a year after it was sold by Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia to Retail Acquisitions, a consortium led by the former racing driver and three times bankrupt Dominic Chappell.
But in Abu Dhabi it was business as usual for the 11 BHS stores operated by Liwa Trading Enterprises, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi’s Al Nasser Holdings.
A Liwa spokesman confirmed that its stores, located in some of Abu Dhabi and Al Ain’s largest shopping malls, would continue to trade despite the closure this week of all 163 BHS stores in the United Kingdom.
“BHS still has a loyal cus­tomer base in the Middle East. Our customers in Abu Dhabi tend to be Arab expatriates who like the styling offered by the brand,” a Liwa spokesman said.
“We have always found it easy to meet the minimum targets for our franchises with the BHS brand and intend to continue with it.”
In June, the Qatari conglomerate Al Mana acquired the company’s international franchising business and all domain names.
Alshaya Group manages 26 franchised BHS stores across the Arabian Gulf – 13 in Saudi Arabia, 12 in Kuwait and one in Oman. The company is also understood to be continuing with the brand.
BHS is not the only international brand to continue trading in the region after facing insolvency elsewhere. The book seller Borders and the ladies fashion chain Jane Norman are among overseas high street names that continue to trade here.
“There are a number of brands which continue to exist in the UAE even though their parent companies have disappeared elsewhere,” said David Mac­adam, the chief executive of the Middle East Council of Shopping Centres.
“The challenge for franchisees in these sorts of occasions is to continue to source stock. However, for a brand like BHS that sort of low to mid-market value retailer is still very popular in the UAE and I think there is still a lot of room for them in the market.”

Costa Coffee UAE digitises its menu boards

Costa Coffee’s franchise partner in the Middle East has invested in digital menu screens as it looks to improve the customer experience in the company’s Dubai stores.
Over 50 Costa Coffee shops in Dubai are in the process of being refreshed with digital signage installations, as the global chain looks to update the experience it offers customers in its stores.
These stores are operated as a franchise by Emirates Leisure Retail, which has led the project after being given approval by the company’s global brand management team in London.
Emirates Leisure Retail selected Mood Media – the company that manages Costa’s in-store music – to provide the menu boards. Digital signage media player company, BrightSign, is hosting the technology, while the equipment itself is supplied by local distributor, Digital Communications.

Digital menu boards are being introduced as each store goes through a refurbishment, and around half of the installations have been completed to date. Mood Media is now in talks to extend the digital boards to other Costa Coffee stores in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) territories.
Shemaine Jones, head of marketing at Emirates Leisure Retail, said: “We are always looking for ways to improve the customer experience.
“We spent six months evaluating digital menu board formats and content offline to create a formula that fully reflects our brand values and the store context. Only then did we move ahead with a pilot.”
The central screen features video content provided by Costa Coffee and/or created by Mood GCC locally in Dubai, while the screens to either side offer up-to-date menus and pricing, as well as moving images.

Axiom launches new concept store in Abu Dhabi

Axiom telecom, the UAE’s largest mobility retailer, has brought its ‘experiential shopping’ to Abu Dhabi with the first-of-its-kind retail concept in the emirate.
The launch of axiom’s innovative shopping concept in Abu Dhabi Mall marks the retailer’s third store renovation in the UAE after Dubai Festival City and The Dubai Mall. It is also the sixth axiom revamp in the region, with three recent store launches in Saudi Arabia.
Shopper expectations in the UAE capital are evolving from being product-based to experience-based, according to axim CEO Fahad Al Bannai.
“Abu Dhabi shoppers largely comprise young Millennials who are looking for a non-traditional retail experience, one characterised by the ability to experience products before making a purchase,” he said.
“In today’s fast-paced lifestyle and competitive market environment, customer convenience and service excellence are key to the success of any business. Through our deep understanding of the local and regional market, we are able to offer a one-stop-shop approach that caters to customers’ diverse requirements,” says Al Bannai. “Shoppers are now able to walk into our store, experience the latest gadgets, personalise their chosen device, activate it, and sign up for reliable aftercare services all under one roof. So customers leave not only with a personalised product they can begin using immediately, but also peace of mind, knowing that they truly got value for their purchase.”
Among the many exciting new services shoppers will discover at axiom is ‘XCustoms’, a first-of-its-kind in-store customisation zone that allows customers to personalise their smartphone.
From gold plating, engraving, and colorful skins, to UV printing, clear protection, and Swarovski crystals, XCustoms allows gadget owners to express their individuality – whether it is supporting a favourite band or team, or showcasing a unique sense of style. Nearly all services are completed in-store, allowing customers to make a statement with their personalised device in as little as 15 minutes, the company said.

Sephora expands in Middle East with new stores across GCC

Cosmetics retailer Sephora has opened four new shops in the Middle East, adding to its 52-store roster in the region.
The Paris-headquartered beauty chain has launched stores in the newly expanded Ibn Battuta Mall, Dubai, Gulf Mall in Qatar and Jouri Mall and the Mall of Dhahran in Saudi Arabia.
The chain claims it has seen ‘significant’ regional growth, particularly in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, and plans to expand further across these markets in the future.
However, the number of Sephora stores currently open in the Middle East remains only half of what the late chief executive Jacques Levy had in mind for the region nearly 10 years ago.
Speaking to Gulf News in 2007, a year before the global financial crisis, the CEO said he hoped to have 100 stores in the Middle East by 2010. Levy stepped down from his role in 2011 and died a year later.
The UAE’s retail sector is predicted to grow at an average rate of about 5 per cent, reaching a value of Dhs 200bn by 2017, despite concerns of a slump related to the fallen oil prices.
According to a forecast from the retail consultancy Euromonitor, retail spending in the Emirates is on track to increase by 7 per cent this year to $53.7bn, while retail space has increased by 7 per cent during 2014 to reach 1.6 million square metres.
However, many retailers have complained about the high rental price of retail space, as costs are pushed up by an increasing presence of global brands in the country’s shopping malls.

Dubai’s Al-Futtaim inks deal to launch French fashion brand

Al-Futtaim, a Dubai-based conglomerate, has signed a partnership agreement with French fashion house ba&sh to introduce the luxury brand to the Middle East.

The first of the planned 10 ba&sh stores will open in Dubai’s City Walk in the fourth quarter of 2016, it said in a statement.
Paul Delaoutre, president Al Futtaim Retail said: “This partnership will add exciting new markets to ba&sh’s global network and at the same time provide Al-Futtaim’s customers in the region with a much wider shopping choice.
“We are confident that this iconic brand will be very popular among the large fashion-conscious clientele in the region and will add to our many success stories.” 
Barbara Boccara and Sharon Krief, co-Founders of ba&sh added: “It is with great pride that we are opening our first store in the UAE. This will be the first boutique in the Middle East and will be the brand’s regional showcase. We are very keen to display our style here.”
Following the opening of the flagship ba&sh store at CityWalk in Q4, there are plans to launch six more boutiques and three concessions in prestigious department stores over the next three years, the statement said.
It added that the brand is expected to expand into several territories within the region by 2019.

Ramadan Kareem 

Wishing all our readers a blessed Ramadan Kareem 

Majid Al Futtaim unveils mega plan for Dh30bn of UAE investment

Most of the Dh30 billion of investments in the UAE announced yesterday by Majid Al Futtaim is likely to be in place by the time Dubai’s Expo 2020 takes place, says the company’s chief executive, Alain Bejjani.
The Dubai-based group revealed plans to open 10 new City Centre malls, six hotels, 28 cinemas, 40 Carrefour supermarkets and a 740,000 square metre master planned community over the next 10 years, in a move that will generate about 170,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Yet Mr Bejjani said all but one of its mall projects would start on site either this year or next.
“We did not include in this Dh30bn strategy anything where we didn’t have the land acquired and plans in progress,” he said.
The projects announced include 10 malls being developed under its City Centre brand, a new super-regional mall in Sharjah at its Al Zahia master planned community and its first foray into Abu Dhabi retail through a smaller My City Centre mall at Masdar City.
The investment also includes plans to refurbish and extend existing properties. City Centre Me’aisem and City Centre Ajman are being extended, and more refurbishment at Mall of the Emirates, where upgrades will be carried out to areas around Rodeo Drive and Ski Dubai.
The six new hotels will include a luxury property at Mall of the Emirates, two hotels at Mirdif City Centre, one at Deira City Centre and two at the new Al ­Zahia mall in Sharjah.
Hotels, retail and leisure are also proposed for the new master planned community, which is being built at a plot on Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed City, close to the Global Village complex. However, this is a project that may take slightly longer to bring forwards, Mr Bejjani said.
“We’ve just acquired the land. We didn’t do this announcement until we acquired the land because it’s very important for us that every component of this Dh30bn is clearly identified,” he said. “We have a pre-concept plan, then we are going to move ahead with approvals.”
Mr Bejjani declined to give details of how it would finance its Dh30bn investment, apart from stating that it was committed to maintaining its current BBB credit rating. “Our plans are well thought, well funded and we will take advantage of any opportunities in the market,” he said.
Last week, Dubai was ranked by the consultancy JLL as the fourth-most attractive market in the world for retailers, behind London, Hong Kong and Paris. Abu Dhabi was ranked 11th globally.
JLL said that Dubai already has one of the highest per-capita levels of retail space in the world, as it has developed a reputation as a shopping tourism destination.
The company’s Mena head of retail, Andrew Williamson, said: “As Dubai looks to welcome 20 million visitors by 2020, retail will play a crucial role in drawing in visitors from all over the globe.”
Majid Al Futtaim said that its plans will double the amount of retail space it has in its malls from 725,000 sq metres to 1.5 million sq metres. Emaar Malls has about 540,000 sq metres of retail space in its portfolio, including The Dubai Mall, but parent firm Emaar Properties has plans to develop 11.16 million sq metres of retail within the new Dubai Creek Harbour project.
Mr Bejjani said he was not concerned about overcapacity in the market, citing growing population and tourism numbers.
“There are very clear growth trends in the market that we are going to take advantage of, but quality is important and experience is important. Majid Al Futtaim is the best developer within all of our businesses. We are very confident of our offering,” he said.

Holding unveils $272m waterfront development

Dubai Holding, a leading investment holding company, has announced the launch of its new waterfront destination, ‘Marasi Business Bay,’ to be developed along the creek within Business Bay destination at an estimated cost of Dh1 billion ($272 million).  
A breakthrough master-planned development, ‘Marasi Business Bay embraces the longest promenade spanning 12 km, the UAE’s first-ever water homes, retail options, floating restaurants, leisure facilities and five palm tree-lined marinas, said a statement from Dubai Holding.
Located on the Dubai Canal Project, Marasi Business Bay is set to become a major future landmark in Dubai – an unprecedented unique waterside destination concept in the UAE and the Middle East.
It boasts of the region’s first purpose-built yachting destination with floating restaurants and cafes, alongside onshore boutique shopping and a range of leisure and entertainment facilities, it stated.
The development’s residential units, which are to be built on water with boat access, provide direct canal views and create a unique new living proposition for the real estate market in Dubai, it added.
Commenting on the new project, chairman Mohammad Abdulla AlGergawi, said: “The new project will strengthen the historic relationship between Dubai and its creek through the addition giving a new dimension to the residential, tourism and leisure offerings along the Dubai Creek.”
“Our objective is to create innovative and unique developments, that accentuates the essence of Dubai’s culture and heritage, and presents what the future emirate looks like; a city that enriches the lives of its residents and visitors alike through unparalleled lifestyle experiences, adding value for investors and Dubai’s economic diversification,” stated AlGergawi.
Located along the Dubai Water Canal, this waterfront destination embraces the longest water-side promenades, comprising a space rich with green spaces, he added.
According to Gergawi, the waterfront project will be developed in phases. The work has already started on the first phase, The Promenade, which will be completed by September this year in line with the opening of RTA’s Dubai Water Canal Project, followed by The Park and The Yacht Club.
A substantial part of the development is set for completion by 2020, with overall works concluded by 2023. The total investment cost exceeds AED one billion, and will be self-financed in partnership with local financial institutions.”
The development will feature a range of local and international businesses spread over 250,000 sq m of open space, including parks and the waterfront promenade. Over 100 shops and outlets will be built on a 16,000 sq m area, while the Park area spans almost 60,000 sq m.
On the Yacht Club, Gergawi said it will feature the first water homes in the UAE, providing views unlike any other in the region.
“And with its prime position along the waterfront promenade, these luxury homes will offer leisure and retail spaces for luxury dining, retail and entertainment facilities,” he stated.
CEO Fadel Al Ali said: “Dubai Properties Group enjoys a long standing experience of creating unique and global destinations. It has an extensive experience spanning more than ten years in the field of planning, developing and managing a diversified portfolio of famous destinations and projects that respond strategically to the needs of the diverse city of Dubai and the requirements of its residents.”
“Dubai Properties, through the smart and strategic development of destinations, seeks to enrich the lives of residents and visitors alike and to promote growth and economic diversification in the UAE,” he stated.
Al Ali said Marasi Business Bay was yet another strategic project of Dubai Holding, set to mark a first in the city’s urban fabric with unique mixed-use landmarks.
“Harnessing the excellence and track record of Dubai Properties and innovation that runs across the Group, Marasi Business Bay is being developed with the aim of boosting the tourism industry in Dubai, and will reinforce Dubai’s position as a global tourism destination, in line with the UAE Vision 2021,” he added.-

World’s first Warner Bros. Hotel to open in Abu Dhabi within US$1 billion themed park
May 7, 2016
Miral, the asset management company responsible for the development and management of Yas Island, and Warner Bros. have officially announced that a Warner Bros. themed destination is set to open in Abu Dhabi.
Situated on Yas Island, the development will include an immersive Warner Bros. theme park and the world’s first Warner Bros. branded hotel.
The first phase of the project, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, is set to open in 2018.
Construction is underway and rides are in production.
Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi will bring together stories and characters from the studio’s unparalleled portfolio of DC Comics super heroes, including Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, as well as Warner Bros. cartoons such as Bugs Bunny, Scooby-Doo and Tom and Jerry.
Guests of all ages will be able to step inside Gotham City and Metropolis, and experience the cartoon worlds of Looney Tunes, Hanna-Barbera and more, all under one roof.
Located alongside the world’s largest indoor theme park, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, and the iconic Emirati-themed water park, Yas Waterworld, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi aims to help Yas Island take its annual visitor tally from 25 million in 2015, to 30 million in 2018.
Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman, Miral, said: “World Abu Dhabi theme park is estimated at US$1 billion and is a milestone in the emirate’s journey to put Abu Dhabi on the global map and become one of the world’s leading tourist destinations.

Dubai to have new ‘mega retail district’

New retail destination will be connected to The Tower, one of world’s tallest observation decks

Dubai: Dubai is to have a new “mega retail district” at the new masters elopement in the making near Dubai Creek.
Part of the Dubai Creek Harbour, the new retail destination could be announced as early as in the next two months, according to a top Emaar Properties official.
It will be connected to The Tower, one of the world’s tallest observation decks and Dubai’s new monument in the making. The basic design of The Tower has been unveiled. 

 

The Body Shop to launch e-commerce site in Dubai

British cosmetics retailer The Body Shop is planning to launch its own e-commerce website in the United Arab Emirates as its growth in the region outperforms the rest of the word.
The ethical beauty giant’s chief executive Jeremy Schwartz said the company planned to launch the new website in Dubai in 2017.
The CEO claimed that during 2015, the 40-year-old company had grown much faster in the Middle East compared to the global average.
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were cited as being particularly strong markets, while the brand also saw a resurgence in Oman last year, Schwartz said. The male market is also stronger in the Middle East, forming 40 per cent of overall sales compared to 35 per cent globally.
Speaking to Gulf Business he said: “The Middle East represents a significant part of our business. Last year in the Middle East we had a total growth that was about three times greater than that of our global growth.
“The new website is to be a blend of our own website and third party websites that are linked to premium beauty and not just on any site. It’s not just about functionality, it’s about the product experience.”
Currently the franchise has 43 stores in the UAE and 350 across the Middle East. It opened its first regional stores in Saudi Arabia and Qatar in 1987.
Schwartz said the growth surge in the Middle East was in part due to its mission to become ‘experts’ in Ramadan and gifting.
“We had more than 30 different gifts for Ramadan and we invented some specifically for the period and that was a big contributor. We will continue to do that.”
Founded by British environmental activist Anita Roddick in 1976, The Body Shop suffered a decline in like-for-like sales of 0.9 per cent last year, reaching €967m (Dhs 4bn), as the ethical beauty market became increasingly competitive.
“Lots of companies have got onto sustainability, many of them have copied The Body Shop – the CEOs say they were inspired,” said Schwartz.
“The question is, if we are a pioneer and an innovator, how do we re-invent the concept of corporate responsibility?
“We came up with the idea ‘Enrich not Exploit’ to enrich our customers and local suppliers, but also not exploit them with false promises.” 

 

Harrods opens temporary outlet in Doha

London luxury department store Harrods has opened a temporary store in Doha for the Christmas period.
The iconic store, which is owned by Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), opened a 6,500 square metre branch at Katara Cultural Village at the weekend. For the first week, the store is only open to VIP visitors, after which the general public can visit from 4pm to midnight daily for the next 45 days.
Designed by Italian architect Gio Pagani, the store is a larger version of the Harrods branch in Sardinia.
It features 14 luxury brands, including Audi, Bentley, Buccellati, Graff Diamonds, Chopard and Ferrari. The store also features luxury vehicles, including Rolls-Royce, BMW and Bentley.
“The goal for this ambitious village was to create a really unique space that enhances the environment, adds a desirable ‘wow’ factor, and highlights each luxury brand within a contrasting unexpected temporary space, turning what was originally an anonymous space into one of the world’s most desirable shopping experiences,” said Pagani.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohamed bin Saud Al Thani, CEO of QIA, said the store was brought to Doha to coincide with Qatar’s national day celebrations, with a much larger store planned for next year’s national day. 

 

Qatari-owned Valentino offers $569m for Pierre Balmain

Italian fashion house Valentino, owned by Qatar’s Mayhoola for Investments, has offered 500 million euros ($569 million) to buy Pierre Balmain, French newspaper Les Echos has reported , citing sources.

The French fashion house, led by artistic director Olivier Rousteing, has also received offers from a Chinese group and an American investor, Les Echos said, without providing names.
The heirs of Pierre Balmain’s founder, Alain Hivelin, have until Thursday to decide whether to accept one of the three offers, according to Les Echos.
Valentino and Pierre Balmain were not immediately available for comment. 

 

Danube opens flagship store in Dubai

Danube Home, the one-stop retail destination for complete home solutions, has opened its first bespoke store in Dubai, UAE, on Sheikh Zayed Road.
The grand opening ceremony on January 16 was attended by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth, and Social Development of the UAE; Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty; and Rizwan Sajan, Anis Sajan and Adel Sajan from Danube.
The global home improvement and home furnishing retail industry is expected to reach an estimated value of $2.292 billion by 2019. The major drivers of this industry are increasing new and existing home sales, increasing disposable income, rising consumer spending, remodelling and renovation of homes, urbanisation, and increasing middle class population. Innovation in products, cost control, supply chain and logistics management will further drive this industry, said a report.
According to some reports, GCC’s home improvement and home furnishing industry will grow significantly during next five years.
The 60,000-sq-ft flagship store showcases the complete product line of the company. Danube Home provides customised solutions across various categories: Living – sofas, bedrooms, chandeliers, home decorations, dinner ware, glassware, bedding, fragrances; Bath – shattafs, mixers, bathroom accessories, massage bathtubs, saunas and bathroom tiles; and garden and outdoor – balcony sets, rattan furniture, gazebos, swings, kids play range.
Furthermore, the customised kitchens, electrical and hardware products complete the range at Danube Home.
Adel Sajan, director, Danube Group, said: “We are extremely pleased to open the flagship store of the region in Dubai. We believe in range, convenience and value hence we provide the best-in-class customised solutions along with our products. Danube Home provides thousands of wallpapers and exclusive curtain designs along with different types of wooden flooring, which one can mix and match to have a truly unique home. All in all, it means that one can actually match the pillows and comforters to curtains and wallpapers.”
“The icing on the cake is free of cost design visualisation and 3D renderings, which can be done for all the customers in record time, by a team of qualified interior designers across showrooms. Customers can just walk in with their floor plans and get their interiors designed based on their individual taste and preferences selecting products from the widest range that we offer. We want to make sure that customers exactly know how the living, bath, garden and outdoor or kitchen would look like even before they buy a product,” said Sajan, Director.
“All our products are very reasonably priced and we have observed that 95 per cent of customers who come to our stores for design creation, actually buy from us. We source products from all over the world- USA, Germany, Turkey, Spain, India, Malaysia, Vietnam, China and Italy to maintain an enticing range.”
Rizwan Sajan, founder and chairman, Danube Group, added: “I congratulate the Danube Home team on the opening of their new store in the region. With this new store, Danube has extended their commitment to offer its customers in the Middle East the best of luxury retail experience.” 

 

Rooftop park coming to Dubai Canal

More than 900 hotel rooms and 5,000 residential units to be built on the two banks of canal
Dubai: During his inspection of the Dubai Canal project on Saturday, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, was briefed by Saeed Humaid Al Tayer, Chairman of Meydan Group, about property and urban development projects to be built on the two banks of the canal.

These projects will be built on an area of 4.68 million square metres with 605,000 square metres earmarked for commercial purposes. They include 5,345 residential units and 948 hotel rooms.
The Gate Towers bridge at the entrance of the canal will comprise a three-level mall built above the canal covering 300,000 square metres. It will feature 434 retail outlets and restaurants. The roof of the mall has been designed as a green park providing an optical connection between its greenery and that of Al Safa Park. The Gate Towers project will include a five-star hotel, hotel apartments and branded apartments.Mall with rooftop park coming to Dubai Canal
More than 900 hotel rooms and 5,000 residential units to be built on the two banks of canal
Dubai: During his inspection of the Dubai Canal project on Saturday, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, was briefed by Saeed Humaid Al Tayer, Chairman of Meydan Group, about property and urban development projects to be built on the two banks of the canal.

These projects will be built on an area of 4.68 million square metres with 605,000 square metres earmarked for commercial purposes. They include 5,345 residential units and 948 hotel rooms.
The Gate Towers bridge at the entrance of the canal will comprise a three-level mall built above the canal covering 300,000 square metres. It will feature 434 retail outlets and restaurants. The roof of the mall has been designed as a green park providing an optical connection between its greenery and that of Al Safa Park. The Gate Towers project will include a five-star hotel, hotel apartments and branded apartments.
Also part of the project are four residential towers linked to Al Safa Park, around 500 retail outlets and restaurants and 1,141 residential units.
Around 200 outlets and restaurants and 211 residential units will be constructed on both sides of the canal.
The canal project will peak at the delta where a peninsula will be formed, adding more than a kilometre to the new beach of the Jumeirah Beach Park.
This expansion will create space for deluxe property development projects in the Marina area featuring more than 60 marinas, 1,817 residential units, 957 five-star hotel rooms, 347 retail outlets and restaurants. 

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Wishing all our readers and followers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year  

  
 

Abercrombie & Fitch ..first A&F branded store in the UAE

Abercrombie & Fitch continues Middle East expansion with first A&F branded store in the UAE
Abercrombie & Fitch continues Middle East expansion with first A&F branded store in the UAENew store houses the brand’s first stand-alone fragrance boutique and first Abercrombie kids location in the Middle East
Dubai, UAE–Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) today announced that its Abercrombie & Fitch brand will open its first store in the UAE at Dubai’s luxury shopping center, the Mall of Emirates, on December 26, 2015. The store is being opened pursuant to a joint venture between Abercrombie and Fitch and Majid Al Futtaim Fashion. The new location is the brand’s third store in the region, following the opening of two stores in Kuwait in early 2015.

The Dubai opening marks several firsts for the brand, including a newly designed concept store featuring a stand-alone fragrance boutique and a carve-out for the abercrombie kids brand. The 18,000 square foot store is one of the largest Abercrombie & Fitch mall-based stores globally and features the brand’s signature style and inviting shopping environment.
“International expansion in key growth markets remains a priority for Abercrombie & Fitch and we are delighted to bring a new store to the Middle East,” said Michael Scheiner, Senior Director, Marketing & Communications at Abercrombie & Fitch. “We know that there is a strong affinity for our brand in this part of the world,and we are excited to continue our development in the region in partnership with Majid Al Futtaim Fashion.”
“There is significant demand for Abercrombie & Fitch in the Middle East and the UAE is a natural fit for the brand,” said Rajiv Suri, Chief Executive Officer at Majid Al Futtaim Fashion. “We look forward to the launch in Dubai and continuing to work closely with Abercrombie & Fitch, as we solidify the brand’s presence across the region.” 

 

Dubai set to launch first Harper’s Bazaar Cafe in Q1 2016

Dubai Design District, also known as d3, has announced an agreement with Marka Hospitality to launch the first Harper’s Bazaar Café in the first quarter of 2016.
The signing of the deal with the food and beverage division of retail firm Marka signifies the start of many new retail and hospitality agreements for d3, as it looks to introduce many business partners to the design district throughout 2016, a statement said.
It added that d3 has chosen to partner with “bespoke and distinctive brands”, with many choosing d3 as their first location and launch pad in the Middle East.
Harper’s Bazaar Café, an extension of the luxury fashion magazine brand, will feature a total dining capacity of 140, with 74 interior seats and 66 on a terrace.
Mohammad Saeed Al Shehhi, chief operating officer of d3, said: “Through our partnership with Marka Hospitality we are proud to welcome this exciting and original F&B concept to d3, which will add a further lifestyle dimension to our already thriving community.
“We have designed d3 to become a dynamic ecosystem and by introducing the Harper’s Bazaar Café as its latest offering we are taking another step in our journey to position d3 as an emerging, self-sufficient district of creativity.”
Khaled Almheiri, vice chairman and managing director of Marka, added: “Harper’s Bazaar is a globally renowned title and leading fashion publication that is the epitome of glamour, sophistication and upmarket couture.
“Marka Hospitality is delighted to have partnered with d3 to bring the first ever Harper’s Bazaar Café to Dubai.”