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Mon 16 Jun 2008 03:25 PM

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Emaar Retail hires new chief

The subsidiary of Emaar Malls Group has recruited an industry veteran to accelerate its expansion strategy in emerging markets.

Emaar Malls Group (EMG), the shopping malls business subsidiary of Emaar Properties PJSC, has appointed Suresh Bhatia as the chief executive officer for Emaar Retail, a wholly owned subsidiary of Emaar Malls Group.

Bhatia will take on responsibility for developing a new portfolio of brands in key growth markets and also work towards new alliances, joint ventures, franchises and licences for the mall developments of EMG.

He brings more than 20 years of retail experience in the Middle East & Asia to spearheading the growth and will initially oversee the operations of the leisure and entertainment components at one the world's biggest shopping, lifestyle and entertainment destinations The Dubai Mall, including KidZania, the SEGA indoor theme park and the 22-screen Cineplex.

Emaar Malls Group CEO Jim Badour said Bhatia brings experience in operations, merchandising, advertising and marketing leading fashion brands. "His depth and understanding in brand development and franchising will drive EMG's expansion in its key markets. He will also lend his expertise initially in developing The Dubai Mall's leisure & entertainment roster."

"Powerful brand alliances and franchises are increasingly becoming the drivers of mall developments. It is important to create the right retail mix for various markets, which is the operational philosophy of Emaar Malls Group. With The Dubai Mall, our flagship development, we are not only launching one of the world's largest retail destinations with a diverse brand portfolio, but also introducing new leisure & entertainment concepts to strengthen visitor footfall," Bhatia said.

He joins Emaar from India, where he was Country Head and Director Major Brands (India) Pvt Ltd, overseeing eight exclusive international brands and more than 40 stores in over 22,000m² of prime retail space. During this time, he was responsible for the implementation of brand policies, and ensuring the profitability of each outlet apart from operations, legal, advertising, IT, finance, accounts, HR and administrative tasks.

Previously he was head of retail operations of Al Maya Lal's Group in Dubai, managing key global brand at stores across the UAE, Azerbaijan, Poland and South Korea. He moved to India as general manager to launch Mango in Mumbai and eventually across India, the first international fashion brand in the country.

In the early days of his career, he was instrumental in setting up India's single-largest chain of fashion franchise with over 46 stores. Bhatia was awarded Best Franchise Manager last year by Franchising India and is a recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Rashtriya Ekta Samman 2006 for outstanding achievements and contributions to retail growth and economic development of India.

Emaar Malls Group is also developing the Dubai Marina Mall in Dubai, and Cairo Gate in Egypt, and through Emaar Retail, it drives the retail expansion plans for Emaar in the key emerging markets across the Middle East, North Africa and the Indian Subcontinent.

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