Baby products retailer inks deal for Saudi expansion

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Dubai retailer JustKidding has announced a franchise deal with Rawafed Fashion to roll out new shops in Saudi Arabia.

The company which sells premium baby products will open at least two stores in the Gulf kingdom as part of the deal which will see an investment worth at least SR5m being made in the opening of the first new store.

The retailer, which currently has two stores in the UAE, recently announced it would expand in the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar with a further seven stores.

The new Saudi agreement will bring the total number of stores in the Arab World to 11 within the next three years, the company said in a statement.

JustKidding was established in Dubai in 1996 and currently turns over AED14m annually.

With a strong online presence and more than 20,000 customers per year, JustKidding said it anticipates being worth up to AED200m within the next three years.

The deal with Rawafed Group includes a five-year renewable contract for the exclusive rollout of JustKidding stores and boutiques in Riyadh, with the first store opening in the Localizer Mall. Further expansion in the kingdom is still under discussion.

Rawafed Fashion was established last year in Saudi Arabia with the brief of bringing high-end fashion and children's retail to the mass mall market.

Annemarie Retera, CEO and co-founder of JustKidding said: "The baby-product market in the Middle East and in particular Saudi Arabia is going from strength to strength due to high disposable incomes, high birth rates, a young population and a clear appetite for strong brand names.

"In fact, baby products have been hailed by industry professionals as a key growth industry for the years to come. In Saudi Arabia there is a real lack of expert retailers who can really give new parents the level of support and expertise they require when setting up home for their new arrival."

Habib J Kashouh, general manager, Rawafed Fashion, added: "We have a certain vision about the wellbeing of children in Riyadh city, which represents a substantial chunk of the retail market in Saudi Arabia.

"We have decided to partner with JustKidding because they represent all that we aim at. They rhyme very well with our vision and will be our best allies assisting us to accomplish our mission."

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