Giordano Middle East has launched an online store in the Emirates, becoming one of the first major fashion brands to deliver clothes to customers' doors.
Giordano on trend with Web orders for clothing
Giordano Middle East has launched an online store in the Emirates, becoming one of the first major fashion brands to deliver clothing to customers' doors.
Online retail is predicted to grow dramatically this year but few major brands, particularly those in fashion, have so far tapped the market.
Giordano, which achieved more than US$1 billion (Dh3.67bn) in sales worldwide last year, is undergoing a major expansion planning to reach 250 stores in India, the Middle East and Asia by 2015.
Its foray into online retail in the UAE is one of the first for a worldwide fashion brand and the move is set to complement regional expansion.
"It's going to be a learning curve," said Ishwar Chugani, the executive director for Giordano in the region.
"The online concept will be for the UAE. We look at this as a support business where there is no rent."
Online retailing has been forecast to take off for several years in the UAE, but few stores have fully embraced the concept because of the easy accessibility of the country's malls and the tendency for residents to use shopping centres as leisure destinations. Fraud and online crime has also consistently been cited as an obstacle to the growth of the industry.
In a market dominated by gadget websites, other retail concepts have been cautious about dipping their toes in the water. Both Lulu Hypermarket and Ikea delayed launches of online delivery stores this year.
But spending online is forecast to accelerate over the next four years, reaching $2.09bn by 2016 across the Arab world, according to the research company Euromonitor, more than double the $1.01bn spent last year.
In the UAE, estimates vary considerably on the overall size of the market, but Euromonitor believes consumers spent $226.8 million online last year, which is expected to grow to $270.9m this year.