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Wed 1 Jun 2011 06:10 PM

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Luxury watch firm eyes GCC growth, jewellery market

Timex Group unit sees sale points in more than 100 stores by year-end, says CEO

Luxury watch firm eyes GCC growth, jewellery market
Timex Group Luxury Watches is also mulling a move into the upscale jewellery market

The luxury subsidiary of watchmaker Timex Group plans to add
around 30 points of sale across the Gulf by the end of 2011 and may expand into
jewellery, the firm’s president and CEO said.

The company, which manufactures and sells designer watches under
tie-ups with Italian fashion brands Versace, Salvatore Ferragamo and Valentino,
plans to have a presence in more than 100 multi-brand stores by the year-end,
in a bid to tap into the Gulf’s growing luxury retail market. 

“Between now and the end of year we will be adding another
20-30 points of sales across the region,” said Paolo Marai. “This will be continuous, every month
we will add new stores.”

Timex Group Luxury
Watches has tie-ups in around 85 retail stores in the Gulf and Yemen.

“We’re in 20 stores in Kuwait at the moment, and we’re hoping
to be in 30 stores by the end of the year.
We’ll also possibly be in another 10 stores in Dubai and another five in
Saudi,” Marai said.

As the trade hub of
the Gulf, the UAE is the eighth largest market worldwide for luxury Swiss-made
watches, while Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman all rank among the top 50 export
markets.

The value of the
UAE market for imported watches was $65.6m in March, according to data from the
Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.

Timex Group, as a
privately-held company, does not disclose financial data but Marai said the
luxury unit had matched 85 percent of its 2010 sales by the end of May.

The company is also
mulling a move into the upscale jewellery market, to build on the success of
its Versace-branded jewellery and watch boutique in Dubai.

“Qatar, Saudi Arabia or Kuwait could be options in the
future,” said Marai. “Now is the right moment to dedicate more attention to the
jewellery market, which is four times bigger than watches. Also, all the
fashion brands do watches today, but very few of them do jewellery. So
potentially you have better chance for a fashion brand to be successful in
jewellery business.”

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