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Tue 29 Nov 2011 10:27 AM

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Jashanmal in franchise talks with overseas retail brands

Gulf retail conglomerate says has natural affinity with British fashion brands

Jashanmal in franchise talks with overseas retail brands
Jashanmal plans to open at least LK Bennett stores by 2016

Bahrain-based
retailer Jashanmal Group is in talks with a number of overseas retailers to
bring new franchises to the Gulf, its CEO has told Arabian Business.

The firm,
which counts Burberry and Calvin Klein in its portfolio, declined to name the
companies but said it had a natural affinity to British-retailers

“We are
talks with many brands,” Tony Jashanmal said. “We’re constantly looking around
for things of interest; we look at new things, see what is happening elsewhere
and then if we think something is interesting then we start talking to them.

“We
actually have a much bigger affinity and dealing with brands from the UK.”

The
firm, which buys franchise rights of international firms and also operates its
own chain of department stores and bookstores, opened the GCC’s first branch of
London fashion retailer LK Bennett last week and plans to open at least six
more outlets.

“We’ll
open at least a couple of in Dubai and certainly one in Abu Dhabi, maybe two in
Kuwait and also Bahrain – all places where we are very active. We intend to go
all the way with LK Bennett because the brand is well known in the UK,” said
Jashanmal.

The GCC
is fast becoming an attractive region for retailers due to its rising wealth,
strong tourism industry and a growing urbanised population. Retail in Dubai,
home to some of the region’s most lavish malls such as Dubai Mall and Mall of
the Emirates, accounts for 30 percent of gross domestic product in the emirate,
Standard Chartered Bank estimates.

The
emirate is the second most attractive emerging market for luxury retailers
after China, according to AT Kearney.  

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