By Ed Attwood
Retail start-up seeking $15m in investment, plans to open 100 stores worldwide
Dubai-based retailer Gallery One is seeking $15m in investment to help launch over 100 stores worldwide as part of an aggressive expansion plan outside the Middle East region, its CEO has said.
“We’re going public with the statement that we want to have 100 stores, and we reckon – with the combination of home and franchise stores – we can get to that 100 with about $15m,” Gallery One CEO Gregg Sedgwick told Arabian Business.
“That’s the level of investment we’re looking at. And when we get to that stage, we’ll be a company that is earning over $70m, with around around $10m in net profit.”
The CEO added that the chain had so far been self-funded, with much of the expansion in the region coming out of cashflow. In 2010, Gallery One achieved around $5m in revenue, with about $750,000 in net profits.
The chain, which sells photographic prints and other image-based products to homes and businesses, will open its first store in the UK - in London’s Covent Garden – in March, and is hoping to open another nine stores in the same country by the end of the year.
If the UK expansion goes according to plan, Sedgwick said that the firm would then open more outlets in the US.
“As far as we know, there’s no branded gallery group of this type in the world,” Sedgwick said. “When you think about homes, there are carpet brands and furniture brands, but there’s no global brand that sells stuff for the walls.”
Elsewhere in the Middle East, Sedgwick said he was actively looking at the Egypt market via a franchise arrangement.
The CEO also stated that he was “very close” to signing a deal for another store on Singapore’s Sentosa Island.
“What we’ve tried to do is put the branding as a very important component of what we’re about,” Sedgwick added. “And we’ve also created a gallery space that is more akin to the shop at the Tate Modern, or the shop at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which is a vibrant, eclectic collection of well-designed and image-based objects.”
Gallery One, which was founded in Dubai in 2005, now has five outlets in the emirate, with two others in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain. It has also sold a franchise in Qatar.
The company employs about 70 staff in Dubai, including in its manufacturing workshop in Al Quoz and its product development team.
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This is great news. I wish you all the best in your efforts to go global.