x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Al-Futtaim launches Tesco’s budget clothing line F&F in the UAE

Value brand owned by Tesco looks to cash in on opportunity as consumers look to broaden their wardrobe options without breaking the bank.

F&F, the budget clothing line of the British supermarket chain Tesco, has become the latest value brand to launch in the UAE as more retailers seek to capitalise on an opportunity in the market.

F&F, which is being introduced by Al-Futtaim, is following in the footsteps of rival George, the clothing range of Asda, a fellow UK supermarket giant, by opening outlets in the Emirates.

The UAE has traditionally attracted more upscale international brands, but that has slowly changed over the past couple of years.

That is partly because consumers are now seeking more ways to appear new and innovative, said Nassim Nasr, the general manager of the Dubai office of The Integer Group, a US-based retail marketing agency.

Many have moved away from wearing the same things over and over again, so even though they may have expensive items in their wardrobe, they also like to have a variety of items to choose from.

And a high proportion of expatriates move to this part of the world to save money, said Mr Nasr, making stores like F&F, where 80 per cent of items cost less than Dh99, more appealing.

“Of course if they can actually spend less on things that are not absolute necessities, they will do that,” he added.

The first F&F store in the UAE opened in Dubai’s Oasis Centre yesterday, but Al-Futtaim believes that there is scope for many more.

“Next year we will really start to focus on Abu Dhabi and we currently have four sites identified,” said Troy Zunckel, general manager of F&F Middle East and North Africa.

“I also believe that Abu Dhabi has room for additional stores in the years to come. We have also identified sites in Ras Al Khaimah as well as Fujairah and hopefully more sites in Dubai in the years to come.”

Part of the brand’s appeal is the quality of the product, added Mr Zunckel, who expects that F&F will compete with the likes of George, as well as labels positioned lower – and higher – than itself.

“I think we are yet to understand how exactly how we fit into the market and who our exact benchmark is, but I think as an international standard, we benchmark ourselves against H&M and Next,” he said.

Al-Futtaim aims to open 40 stores across the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Jordan and Lebanon over the next five years.

gduncan@thenational.ae