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Tue 2 Nov 2010 05:29 PM

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Celebrity jeweller to spend $20m on Middle East stores

New co-CEOs of jewellery house, Mouawad, look to the GCC to bolster expansion plans

Celebrity jeweller to spend $20m on Middle East stores
The Geneva-based firm will spend $1-2m building each new Middle Eastern store

Mouawad, the Geneva jewellery house, on Tuesday said it will spend more than
$20m on expanding its brand in the Middle East over the next five years, opening stores in Dubai, Abu
Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.

Control of the 120-year-old jewellery house,
which originates from Lebanon, was on Tuesday handed over to the fourth
generation of the Mouawad family, Fred and Pascal Mouawad.

“Phase one is going to be the Middle East. We believe of
the next 15 to 20 stores we are opening, a good 30 to 50 percent will be in the
region over the five years. The region is going to account for the majority [of
sales], I would put it at 60/40 split; 60 percent within the region and 40
percent outside the Middle East.” said Fred Mouawad, co-CEO of the family-run company.

“We’re opening our store in Beirut, we’re looking
aggressively at a location in Abu Dhabi and we may open a second location in
Dubai so this region is our focus. Once we build that infrastructure then we’ll
start expanding in other territories,” he said

The Geneva-based firm, which counts celebrities such as
Nicole Kidman and Angelina Jolie among its clientele, will spend $1-2m
building each new store, which will include inventories of approximately
$10-15m per store.

“We have a minimum of $10-15m worth of inventory per store,
that’s our target [so] we’re looking at least $200m worth of jewellery in the
next 10-15 stores,” said Mouawad.

The jewellery house, which currently has 14 showrooms and
operates in nine countries, plans to open a total of 30 stores in the next five
years. The company will also expand its product line to include what it described as a more affordable range of
jewellery, ranging in price from $300 to 15,000, as well as watches and
accessories. It also plans to refurbish its outlets in Riyadh and Jeddah.

Mouawad was founded by Daoud Mouawad in Lebanon in 1890.
The jewellery house designs, manufactures and sells all of its own products.

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