By Shane McGinley
Anya Hindmarch stores will open in Dubai Mall and across the GCC from early 2012
British luxury handbag designer Anya Hindmarch, who designed Catherine Middleton’s bags for her Royal Wedding to Prince William this summer, has signed a deal with Qatar’s SH Almana Co to open stores across the Middle East, Arabian Business has learnt.
“We have just taken on a brand called Anya Hindmarch, which is a global power brand… equivalent to Prada or Gucci,” Larabella Riaz, general manager of business development and strategic marketing at SH Almana Co, said on the sidelines of the Arabian Business Qatar Achievement Awards 2011 in Doha.
Riaz confirmed SH Almana Co will be the exclusive licence holder and master distributor for the British handbag designer and plans to open the first Anya Hindmarch-branded store in Dubai Mall, with further stores planned in Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.
“It is a British brand, which already has a presence in Japan and in America and in the UK but it has no presence in the Middle East,” she added. “We are launching the brand and we have it for the whole of the Middle East. We are looking at the first part of next year.”
Essex-based fashion designer Anya Hindmarch opened her first store in 1987 in London's West End and the brand now has around fifty stores in seventeen countries.
Voted Accessories Designer of the Year at the 2001 British Fashion Awards, her celebrity fans include Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson, Sienna Miller, Madonna, Claudia Schiffer, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston and Jemima Khan.
Hindmarch also designed Catherine Middleton’s official bags for her summer wedding and honeymoon to Prince William.
The designer rose to prominence as a result of her bespoke bags, which allowed buyers to put their personal photographs printed onto a bag and the popular ‘I’m Not a Plastic Bag’ cloth bags.
Doha-based retail firm SH Almana Co was founded in the 1950s and its many divisions distribute a range of luxury and high brands across a number of retail sectors, including Nissan, Renault, Infiniti, Armani Exchange, Zara, Mango and Balenciaga
Riaz also confirmed SH Almana Co will be launching the new Nissan Juke and Infiniti QX 56 car brands in the coming months, with the Juke set to be launched by the end of the month.For all the latest retail news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
The DIFC "retail experiment" had an Anna Hindmarch store for one year before it closed for presumably lack of sales. The Dubai Mall store will hardly be the first in the Middle East - but granted, much better placed.
The bag designer should consider opening one of its outlet in Islamabad Pakistan which may be good business venture