x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Fashion retailer Centrepoint sets five-year target to double Mena outlets

Dh1 billion expansion drive comes as consumer confidence and tourist arrivals have driven a retail bonanza in the UAE.

The fashion retailer Centrepoint, part of Dubai-based Landmark Group, aims to double its number of stores in the region and beyond over the next five years.

The chain expects to invest about Dh1 billion to open 75 stores, with inaugural outlets in Libya and Iraq established within the next 12 months.

“We are opening our 100th store tomorrow in Dubai’s Al Ghurair Centre,” said Simon Cooper, the head of Centrepoint. “We intend to open 75 stores across the region and new territories in the next five years. We are looking at Iraq, Libya and possibly moving further into Africa as well.

“Our first store in Africa will be Libya and that opening is imminent. Our international office is looking at other opportunities throughout Africa. Europe is even possible though it is a more mature market.”

“It makes good business sense to invest in this type of expansion as the emerging markets such as Libya and Iraq offer great opportunities for return and growth,” said Fatemah Sherif, an analyst at Euromonitor. “It is likely to see far more retailers move into these territories in the near future as the risks lessen and the opportunities grow. With regard to Africa, The Landmark Group/Centrepoint fall under the apparel and footwear specialist retailers category, which shows huge growth potential across the continent.”

Centrepoint has opened about 100 stores since it began trading in 2005 and this expansion drive comes as consumer confidence and tourist arrivals have driven a retail bonanza in the UAE.

Landmark’s other brands include Babyshop, Splash and Shoe Mart.

Babyshop is also growing. Last month it said it was planning to spend Dh150 million to open 15 UAE outlets over the next three years, primarily in Abu Dhabi and the Northern Emirates.

The retailer’s revenues stuttered as the global financial crisis affected footfall and profits at its stores. But it now services 35 million customers annually and cites a healthy return on investment and expects those returns to continue.

“We have seen a 15 per cent to 16 per cent compound annual growth rate every year,” said Vinod Talreja, director of Centrepoint.

Mr Cooper said the expansion is taking shape.

“We are due to open in Dubai Festival City around June and we have seen some major opportunities in Abu Dhabi and possibly more in Dubai as well,” Mr Cooper said. “When this phase of expansion is complete, we will employ over 20,000 people. We take opportunities as they come along, be they stand-alone or mall ventures. We tend to open the stores where we see a burgeoning customer base. We are looking towards community malls as well, whether they be in large cities or small towns.”

ascott@thenational.ae

Follow us on Twitter @Ind_Insights