Mohammed Alshaya told the Arabian Business Conference last month that he had seen negative retail sales growth this year, but you can’t keep a good man down. Chairman of one of the region's leading business entities, the Alshaya Group, Mohammed Alshaya oversees a wide range of interests including real estate, construction, hospitality, advertising and IT.
On the back of his work to bring 29 brands to Dubai’s Mirdif City Centre Mall in 2010, he was recently named ‘Retail CEO of the Year.’ In his acceptance speech, the man himself credited his award on the work of his 20,000 workforce and said 2011 would see the group kick on after the slowdown. He says next year he is looking open some 1,200 outlets and bring myriad new brands to the Middle East. The Alshaya Group is the Middle East franchisee of a number of international companies including Starbucks, H&M, Foot Locker, Mothercare, Debenhams, River Island, Topshop, Office Depot and PF Chang’s.
And while the consumer boom may have slowed in the wake of the economic downturn, Alshaya stores host millions of customers every week. That has not stopped him from sounding a note of caution, however — he has repeatedly urged family companies to spearhead the battle against the Middle East’s impending job shortage.
Established in 1890, the Alshaya Group has in fifteen markets across the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey, Cyprus, Russia, Poland, Slovakia and Czech Republic.
With over 1,700 stores, the group’s retail arm employs more than 18,00 people. Its other divisions — real estate, hotels, and automotive — own a wide portfolio of land, hotels including the Kuwait Sheraton and Medina Oberoi, and dealerships for Mazda and Peugeot in Kuwait.