By Shane McGinley
Retail accounts for a third of Rich List entrants’ fortunes and 25% of total wealth
Retail has dominated the Arabian Business Rich List 2011, with more than a quarter of this year’s entries generating a portion of their wealth from the sector.
Some 19 of the wealthy entrants on this year’s list earned their dollars in retail, with the industry accounting for nearly $65bn of the ranked fortunes.
Among them is Bader Kharafi, vice-chairman of Kuwait’s Kharafi Group, whose family ranks at No.7 on this year’s list with an $8.7bn fortune. The company counts brands such as KFC, Wimpy, TGI Friday’s, Cadbury’s, Pizza Hut and Krispy Kreme in its franchise portfolio.
Also in the top 20 is Majid Al Futtaim, whose UAE-based conglomerate has cashed in on the GCC’s retail boom with a slew of shopping malls. The company plans to invest $3.5bn in building four malls in the UAE, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon over the next five years, alongside a hypermarket in Erbil, Iraq.
Al Futtaim has added nearly a billion dollars to his personal wealth in the last 12 months, and that figure is only likely to grow at pace with his business interests.
Retail sales across the oil-rich Gulf are expected to grow at 8.3 percent between 2010 and 2015, investment bank Alpen Capital said in November, thanks to the region’s high-spending habits.
In Dubai, the Gulf’s trade and tourism hub, retail accounts for some 30 percent of gross domestic product, according to Standard Chartered estimates.