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Tue 18 Oct 2011 10:09 AM

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London brand Hackett has designs on Gulf expansion

UK menswear brand plans to open 10 stores over next five years, says MD

London brand Hackett has designs on Gulf expansion
The Arab Spring has spurred a rise in retail sales in the UAE

Hackett, the London-based menswear designer, plans to roll out 10 stores across the GCC in the next five years in a bid to capture a growing slice to the region’s booming retail market.

The brand, which describes itself as the home of ‘essential British kit’, said Gulf nationals are among the highest spenders in its UK stores during the summer months.

“The plan is to have ten [stores] in at least four to five years time. There is going to be between six and seven [stores]…. in the next two years,” said managing director Vicente Castellano.

“The locals are really quite linked to the brand and we can see it in our numbers in London. In quite a lot of our stores, the number one nationality is coming from the [GCC] area.

"I think the British influence is key here; people really love this kind of style, this kind of British fashion,” he added.

Hackett opened its first standalone store in the UAE at Dubai Mall this week in partnership with luxury retailer Chalhoub Group. The firm, which already operates two stores in Kuwait and a concession area in Harvey Nichols, Dubai and Bloomingdales, is in talks to open a store in Lebanon and plans to open another in Riyadh in time for its Spring/Summer collection.

“The idea in Hackett is not to open too many stores but to do stores that really work and are profitable,” said Castellano. “The concept is not a mass market kind of thing so really you can cover a market like this one with a couple of good stores.”

The retail and hospitality industries are booming in the UAE amid the regional unrest which has seen tourists flock to the malls and hotels.

Burberry, the London-based fashion brand famous for its red, camel and black check, last week posted a 30 percent increase its sales during the first half of the year on the back of growth in emerging markets including the Middle East.

Consultants Bain & Co on Monday upgraded its outlook for the luxury industry outlook for next year. Despite concerns of a banking crisis in Europe global sales of luxury goods are expected to increase 13 percent this year amid strong demand in Europe and North America and buoyant sales in Asia and Latin America.

Luxury sales in the Middle East are expected to increase 8.75 percent this year, the consultancy said.

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