Al Sayegh Brothers, a Dubai retail group with stores featuring electronic brands such as E4U and Olympus, plans to open as many as 25 fashion stores in the region by 2015.
The company made its debut in fashion in Dubai this month with NetWork, a Turkish clothing brand. It aims to bring in six other brands from NetWork's parent fashion group A&Y and to open up to 25 stores across the GCC over the next five years.
Mansoor al Sayegh, a director with Al Sayegh Brothers, said the company hoped to be a hit with fashion-hungry consumers in the Emirates.
"I can see a big opportunity in that," he said at the NetWork store's official opening in Dubai's Mirdif City Centre yesterday.
Dubai, however, has no shortage of options in clothing stores. The emirate was the most popular destination for mid-range fashion brands, ahead of London and Kuwait City, according to data from CB Richard Ellis's latest "How Global is the Business of Retail?" report.
Mr al Sayegh said he hoped moderate prices would give NetWork a competitive edge, such that a full suit - shoes and shirt included - would cost between Dh1,500 (US$408.35) and Dh2,000.
"It's because of the quality that we're offering to the people," he said. "Not only that, it's the prices we are giving for the quality."
After years of steady double-digit growth, retail sales in the UAE, fashion included, slowed last year because of the economic downturn.
However, sales are starting to bounce back, retailers say, and are forecast to grow next year. UAE consumer spending on clothing and accessories last year totalled about $4.9 billion and is expected to grow by 24 per cent to $6.06bn by 2014.
Orhan Maltepe, NetWork's sales director, said the A&Y group planned to tread lightly in the Gulf market at first, with one store this year and two to four next year. The group is targeting a turnover of $2.5 million in the UAE next year.
"Our main interest is to be in the Middle East, and Dubai is the fashion centre of the Middle East," Mr Maltepe said.
Al Sayegh Brothers aims to increase revenue by about 25 per cent a year, Mr al Sayegh said.
That is in line with the growth at all the group's businesses this year, which include electronics retail, distributing Acer, Gateway and LG products, and food ventures such as the Zyng Asian Grill chain of restaurants.
While the retail landscape seems to be improving for the family-owned company, market conditions are not yet ripe for it to go public.
Al Sayegh Brothers has discussed the possibility of an initial public offering (IPO) but has no immediate plans to push one through, Mr al Sayegh said. "Not any time soon," he said. "It will take another three to five years."
The latest company to attempt an IPO in the Emirates was the mobile phone retailer Axiom Telecom.
The Dubai company's public offering on NASDAQ Dubai, which it had hoped would raise as much as $382m, was cancelled at the last minute this month after it struggled to attract buyers.
That would have made Axiom Telecom the first company to launch an IPO in the UAE in two years.