By Shane McGinley
Retailer is aiming for 250 outlets by 2020 and is eying launching into the hospitality sector
Dubai-based gold retailer Pure Gold Group is planning to invest AED500 million ($136 million) boosting its network of stores up to 250 by 2020, while it is also planning to entering the hospitality sector within the next few years, according to its most senior executive.
“It is very simple... The strong customer base started the journey from Dubai and then into 13 countries. We want to go now into new countries. At the same time Dubai is a tourist destination so where we have a presence it helps us when they come here as a tourist and when they see the company they feel they are in the right place,” Firoz Merchant, the founder and chairman of Pure Gold Group told Arabian Business.
Merchant is planning to invest AED500 million expanding the network of stores to 250 by 2020, up from its 125 outlets in 12 countries.
As a result, it will also add an additional 2,000 employees, bringing its total number of staff to around 5,500 by 2020.
Around AED400 million will be invested in new Pure Gold stores and an additional AED100 million in it's La Moda sunglasses brand, increasing its number of stores from 15 to 50 by 2020 across the region.
In order to develop it's global footprint, Merchant said he is not keen to go down the franchising route: “We don’t do franchising. We have a capacity to run our own business at our own financial strength and are very comfortable.”
However, he hasn’t ruled out mergers or acquisitions in order to propel the brand forward: “Acquisitions? Everything is subject to what is available in the market at the right price. We have to see the company price and size. We are open-minded businessmen. You need to learn and get opportunities wherever. I am very happy and satisfied with my business.”
In August last year, Pure Gold Group announced that its Arianna boutique brand had opened its first international brand in Paris. Located in the Peninsula Hotel, the outlet features jewellery and accessories designed by the likes of Gucci, Roberto Coin, Moraglione, Annamaria Cammilli, and Leo Pizzo.
“The first international experience was in Paris but it is too early to say if it is a success,” Merchant said. “The euro is suffering so it will take time to settle down. Currently we are not in a position to say if it is a success but we will not give up and we will work hard. It will take time and we will move into the rest of Europe, to Italy, Germany and the rest of France.”
In addition to more retail stores, he is also considering launching new brands and even a move into the hospitality sector.
“Certainly, we are looking for many opportunities in the retail business. Our team are working and looking forward to getting something which we can bring here... Dubai is a growing city.
“In 2020 for the expo the city needs more hotels. So we will also consider opening one or two hotels in Dubai in 2016, 2017 or 2018, before two years... We will go with a four star or five star. Not Pure Gold, we don’t want to go with our own name... Something that is a chain we can bring here.”