UK retail giant plans new Doha airport outlets

WHSmith said to be planning to open eight shops at delayed New Doha International Airport

UK retail giant WHSmith is set to open eight shops at the delayed New Doha International Airport (NDIA), officials have said.

According to the Moodie Report, the British retailer will take a total of 8,000 sq ft of space at the new airport which was supposed to have opened last month but is facing delays of up to a year.

Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways CEO, told the website: “We are thrilled to have yet another high-calibre international retailer on board which shares our vision to be one of the world’s greatest airports.”

WHSmith chief executive Kate Swann added: “The opening of eight new WHSmith stores in this exclusive airport development further demonstrates our commitment to be the leading travel retailer across the Middle East.”

Last year, Qatar's Al Meera Holding said it had entered into a franchise agreement with WHSmith Travel Ltd to operate book shops in the Gulf state.

Under the agreement, Al Meera Holding has been granted the exclusive rights to establish and operate bookstores under the WHSmith brand in Qatar.

With more than 1,100 stores both in the UK and across the world, including locations in UAE, Oman, Kuwait and stores to come in Saudi Arabia and Jordan, WHSmith is present at airports around the world.

The New Doha International Airport will have a total of more than 40,000 sq m of space devoted to retail facilities, passenger lounges, and multi-storey short-term and long-term parking.

Last week, Qatar Airways announced it was launching a $600m legal action against contractor Lindner Depa International (LDI) for "badly defaulting" on a $250m fit-out contract at the airport but the joint venture hit back, accusing the carrier of making "false and misleading" comments.

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Posted by: Amaka Amanambu

Why on earth should whoever is in charge allot a stationary store 8,000sq ft one fifth of the 40,000sq ft. Those so call western retails in the Middle East don't necessarily stock the best/quality/up to date products they sell in their home country or Europe or US. I have visited a few of them in Dubai, Kuwait and Bahrain. Especially the departmental stores and some fashion houses. I still come back to Europe and US to shop. To be a world class hub, These stores should be benchmarked periodically with parent/similar retails worldwide.

Posted by: Salaam

It is 40,000 sq mtr and not 40,000 sq ft. Hence the total area is over 400,000 sq ft. WH Smith is occupying 2% of overall area.

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