Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Debenhams is one of the British retailers that already has a presence in Pakistan. Above, the Debenhams store in Karachi. Asim Hafeez for The National
Debenhams is one of the British retailers that already has a presence in Pakistan. Above, the Debenhams store in Karachi. Asim Hafeez for The National

British retail chain Debenhams expands into Pakistan

Debenhams, the UK department store, has opened its first store in Karachi as part of a major expansion of its brand worldwide.

The British retail chain Debenhams has opened its first department store in Pakistan as part of a major expansion of its brand worldwide.

The company has signed a franchise agreement with Team A Ventures, a local company that already representsother British retailers.

The store in Pakistan opened in Dolmen Mall, Karachi, last week and is to have a grand opening on August 2.

"There's a highly affluent middle class, which is growing in Pakistan, and we have also got a strong franchise partner," said Lucy Haine, the senior business manager at Debenhams International.

Like many of its peers, Debenhams is focusing heavily on expanding abroad as growth in the United Kingdom remains stagnant amid government austerity measures and recession.

The department store is performing better than some of its peers and maintained growth of 0.3 per cent in like-for-like sales in the six months to March.

Debenhamshas risen nearly 50 per cent on the London Stock Exchange so far this year.

Ms Haine said the retailer would look to expand into other Pakistani cities, such as Lahore and Islamabad, if the opportunity to lease store sites arose.

Debenhams is also opening its first store in Russia in September and last week said it would launch an online delivery website in Germany.

It can now deliver to 14 countries, including the United States, Argentina, Costa Rica, Israel, Kenya, Singapore and Venezuela and will eventually add 34 countries.

"International is a growing part of our business," said Ms Haine. "We are always looking for new sites."

Debenhams has 153 stores in the UK and Ireland and 69 stores in 25 other countries.

In the Middle East, Debenhams is managed by MH Alshaya, one of the biggest retailers in the region, which operates more than 20 Debenhams stores in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt and Turkey.

In Pakistan, Team A Ventures is a well-established operator and distributor of international brands, including Mothercare, Next, Early Learning Centre, Accessorize, Timberland, Crocs and Monsoon. "That was an important factor for us in choosing a franchise partner," said Ms Haine.

Pakistan has a population of about 170 million and although the GDP per capita is only $1,200, retailers believe there is a huge opportunity on the basis of the small part of the population that is growing in affluence. The international professional services company Deloitte last year cited Pakistan in a report on countries that were potentially lucrative markets for retailers, titled Hidden heroes: the next generation of retail markets.

"The fashion market has been expanding for the last four to five years and there are strong local brands in the market," said Adnan Hamid, the general manager of Debenhams in Pakistan. "There are so many people travelling from Pakistan to the UK. There are people coming into the store saying, 'We used to go to the UK or Dubai to shop in Debenhams.'"

The department store in Karachi will be branded the same as Debenhams in the UK and sell the same products, a mix of 100 designer and own-branded goods.

rjones@thenational.ae

twitter: Follow and share our breaking business news. Follow us

iPad users can read the digital edition of business section as it was printed via our e-reader app. Click here

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 A Brabus Mercedes 6x6 Sports Utility Vehicle is readied for display during Auto China 2014 in Beijing, on April 20. Adrian Bradshaw / EPA

In pictures: Auto China 2014 exhibition

Leading automakers have gathered in Beijing for the kickoff of China’s biggest car show, but lacklustre growth and environmental restrictions in the world’s largest car market have thrown uncertainty into the mix. More than 1,100 vehicles are being showcased.

 The Greens, villas: Q1 no change. 3BR - Dh210-250,000. 4BR - Dh210-260,000. 5BR - Dh220-300,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 5% rise. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: Where Dubai rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Dubai have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 The Wind, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition takes place from April 14 to April 16. Above, the Dewa showroom during last year’s Wetex. Jaime Puebla / The National

April corporate and economic calendar for the UAE and overseas

From Cityscape to Wetex to stock-market holidays to nations reporting first-quarter GDP figures, here is our helpful calendar of April's business events in the UAE and internationally.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

 The cooling towers of the Temelin nuclear power plant near the Tyn nad Vltavou in Czech Republic. The country wants to continue expanding nuclear energy capacity despite cancelling a tender to build two new units. David W Cerny / Reuters

In pictures: Best business images for the week to April 17, 2014

Here are some of the best business images for the week to April 17, 2014.

 Get the latest information on credit cards, bank accounts and loan products in the UAE. Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Rates report: Latest on UAE loans, accounts and credit cards

Souqamal.com brings you the latest interest rates on banking products in the UAE.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National