x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Fortnum and Mason sets opening date in Dubai

London's upmarket grocery store is set to open on March 21 at its Downtown Dubai branch - it's first location outside of the British capital.

Fortnum and Mason, the upmarket London department store, will open the doors at its three-storey Downtown Dubai branch on March 21.

It is the company’s first location outside the British capital.

Fortnum is a Piccadilly landmark and in November it opened a 200-square metre store at London’s St Pancras train station.

Spread over 875 square metres, the Dubai store will feature a tea salon and an ice-cream parlour serving its signature Knickerbocker Glory. The grocery section will have an assortment of Fortnum’s products, including teas, biscuits, jams, sweetmeats, preserves and hampers.

The department store is collaborating with Dubai’s Al Khayyat Investments (AKI), on the project. The Fortnum location is leased to AKI by Emaar. AKI has interests in retail, health care, fitness and bowling, contracting and automobiles, among others.

“This joint venture is a part of the AKI Group’s strategic vision to grow across fashion and lifestyle, health and beauty, and food and beverage sectors in the UAE and beyond,” said Jonathan Knight, the chief executive of AKI’s retail division.

Fortnum did not plan to expand beyond Dubai, said Ewan Venters, the company’s chief executive.

The products for the Dubai store will come from its Piccadilly range.

“With regards to fresh produce for the tea salon and the parlour, we will import where appropriate and have been working with specialists to source the suppliers locally who can meet our high and exacting standards,” Mr Venters said.

When Fortnum comes to the UAE, it will join the likes of Al Tayer, Bin Hendi and Chalhoub Group in luxury retail. But while such companies have brought brand names in perfumes, watches, jewellery, fashion and beauty, not many have gourmet groceries. Players in gourmet food products include the Lafayette Gourmet in The Dubai Mall.

The research consultancy Business Monitor International is upbeat about the long-term potential for luxury goods in the UAE given its growing and comparatively wealthy population.

Last year, the UAE was expected to touch an average net income per capita of US$39,294 a year.

ssahoo@thenational.ae

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