Ecco is developing its first regionally-focused collection - a line of sandals - to target the rapidly rising incomes and expanding populations of countries across the Middle East.
Danish shoemaker Ecco to grow footprint across region
The Danish shoemaker Ecco is developing a collection of sandals for the Middle East.
It will be the company's first regionally focused collection, and it is aimed at the rapidly growing incomes and populations of countries across the region.
Ecco, in business for about 50 years, has had a presence in the Middle East for about a decade.
"Today we are offering a global collection - the same styles everywhere in the world," said Aija Karklina, the Dubai-based marketing manager of Ecco Middle East. "But there is one segment where the Middle East is different from the rest of the world, which is in Arabic sandals," she added.
The brand is planning to create its sandal collection for Arab consumers for the next spring/summer season. Stores in other regions will be offered the opportunity to sell the sandals, although they will be aimed primarily at the Middle East market. "Here in this part of the world, we can see that this would be an area where we can really develop ourselves and grow," Ms Karklina observed. She said the brand was established in the comfort category, as well as children and sports.
"But this is for Ecco as always, we are looking for new challenges, where else we can go, how else we can develop ourselves and a [sandal] range is extremely good for us to continue to grow and reach a new audience."
Few international brands have gone so far as to create collections for the lucrative Middle East market, although many have opened stores in the region. Harry's of London, an upmarket shoe brand, opened a store in Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi last year, adding to its other international stores in Japan and Kuwait.
Ecco's growth in the UAE reached double digits last year.
The company has 12 stores in the country with more to follow in the capital."We are stepping up from year to year and we are having constant increases because also our collections are getting more attractive.
"We are opening new stores, so all these factors together helps to improve business and achieve sales increases," Ms Karklina said.
The brand is "settled" in Dubai, she said, where it has a presence in all of the main malls.
"Abu Dhabi is an area where we can still grow. Today we have three stores in Abu Dhabi and we are going to open more," Ms Karklina said.
Ecco's 13th UAE store is slated for the capital's Mall at the World Trade Centre; the mall is scheduled to open early in the second half of this year.
A 14th store is to follow in Yas Mall when it launches next year.