A major textiles manufacturer and retailer from Pakistan has made its first move into international markets with the opening of a new store in Dubai.
Pakistani clothing retailer Nishat making inroads in Dubai
A textile manufacturing and retail conglomerate run by Pakistan's richest man has made its first move into international markets with the opening of a store in Dubai Festival City.
Nishat Linen, part of the Nishat Group of Lahore, expects to open six stores in the Emirates by the end of the year, with 25 outlets across the GCC within two years.
"This is our first move outside Pakistan and we want to build a business here to launch to the rest of the world," said Ahmed Jahangir, the executive director of Nishat.
The company's textiles division is a 60-year-old flagship business, one of the largest suppliers to international brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Next, Gap and Hugo Boss, Mr Jahangir said.
The company supplies clothing from its factories in Pakistan directly to the world's biggest shopping outlets. It has opened a regional warehouse in Dubai's Al Quoz Industrial Area and plans to open another in Jebel Ali Free Zone. Nishat Linen will be the company's first consumer brand, with the new 232-square-metre store selling high-end textiles such as bed linen, tablecloths and curtains.
Mr Jahangir said two more deals had been signed to bring stores to Dubai Outlet Mall and Lamcy Plaza, with a further agreement to set up in Mirdif City Centre likely to be signed in the next few weeks.
"We would like to be in all the big malls in Dubai and then expect to expand to Abu Dhabi next year," he said. Nishat is one of the largest business groups in Pakistan, with assets of more than US$5 billion (Dh18.36bn) and interests in financial services, insurance, construction and power generation.
The group supplies nearly 10 per cent of Pakistan's energy and has controlling stakes in Muslim Commercial Bank, Adamjee Insurance and DG Khan Cement, the country's largest cement manufacturer.
Mian Muhammad Mansha, the group's chairman, is Pakistan's richest man, according to Forbes magazine.
"Entering other countries requires careful assessment of those markets and finding the right local partners who can understand our business philosophy," Mr Jahangir said.
"In comparison to other markets, the UAE showed greater potential to provide a launch pad for our international expansion and exponentially grow our business."