x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Spreading iStyle in north Africa

Midis Group, which delivers Apple products throughout the region, is considering expanding its iStyle retail chain into north Africa.

Midis Group, which delivers Apple products throughout the region, is considering expanding its iStyle retail chain into north Africa.

Peter Kwisthout, the corporate development and group marketing officer for the Beirut company, said there was also room within the region for further growth of its retail chain, which exclusively sells Apple products.

"I think in north Africa, it's definitely a space where we have been looking at expanding," he said on the sidelines of the annual GITEX technology expo in Dubai. "And in the Middle East. You still want to grow certain [countries]."

It currently has 30 stores across the Middle East, and 21 in Europe. Midis, which distributes the brands Intel, Dell, HP and Apple in 30 countries, experienced flat sales last year in both its retail shops and overall IT business, said Mr Kwisthout.

"Sales have been flat, but in an environment where most of our competitors have decreased, we are gaining share."

While the markets of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi continued to grow, the problems plaguing the property sector in Dubai trickled down to the IT and consumer electronics industry, he said.

"We saw a lot of resilience in Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia, which is no surprise because that's where you have a lot of capital available and they keep investing due to the oil revenues." Midis, formerly known as MDS Holdings, is beginning to experience signs of recovery.

"We see the pick-up, and I'm not just talking retail," said Mr Kwisthout. "We see projects coming back on track to where they used to be two, three years ago. So I wouldn't say that everyone is smiling yet, but we start to see signs of recovery through healthy projects coming back."

Midis expects sales to end the year flat, but should be back to single-digit growth next year, he said. The company is investing in eastern Europe and the Middle East, he added. Midis is expanding its offices in the region, after opening a factory in Ras al Khaimah in May last year. The factory produces protective enclosures for IT equipment, designed for the desert heat and conditions.

aligaya@thenational.ae