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Tue 22 Jun 2010 11:35 AM

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Int'l brands see MENA retail markets as key for growth

AT Kearney report says Kuwait is second most popular expansion location in world.

Int'l brands see MENA retail markets as key for growth

The Middle East and North African (MENA) markets are the most in demand region for international retailers in the world, according to a new study released by AT Kearney.

The Global Retail Development Index said Kuwait was the second most popular expansion destination in the world.

While China took over from India as the most attractive destination, the MENA region dominated the rankings, accounting for eight of the top 21 locations: Kuwait (2), Saudi Arabia (4), United Arab Emirates (7), Tunisia (11), Egypt (13), Morocco (15), Turkey (18) and Algeria (21).

The report said that the impact of fiscal stimuli in some markets, the region’s rich oil supplies, rising retail sales, strong disposable incomes and positive urban population growth were responsible for the strong showing of the MENA region.

“The attractiveness of the MENA retail markets provides ample opportunities for regional as well as global retailers,” said Martin Fabel, Partner, AT Kearney Middle East.

While Kuwait was number two, the UAE slipped from fourth place last year to seventh this year. This is in comparison to the 2009 which saw the UAE make the biggest move up the rankings from 20th to fourth place.

However, the emirates is still a major player in the global expansion plans of international retailers, the study said.

“The UAE has been a hot spot for several years and is now entering the next level of maturity. Retailers are looking to build on their stronghold in the UAE to diversify their portfolio across the region and will continue to actively invest in the attractive markets of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.” said Dan Starta, partner and managing director of AT Kearney Middle East.

The full top ten consisted of China, Kuwait, India, Saudi Aradia, Brazil, Chile, the UAE, Uruguay, Peru and Russia. The biggest rise up the rankings was made by Peru, which surged nine places to ninth, while Mexico made the biggest drop, falling thirteen places to 25th.

The index surveys 60 international retail executives to identify which regions around the world they are planning to target for expansion, based on a set of 25 variables including economic and political risk, retail market attractiveness, retail saturation levels, and the difference between gross domestic product growth and retail growth.

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