Coming soon? 12 retail brands yet to make it to the UAE

While the Emirates is a melting pot for consumers, there are still some popular international brands that have yet to establish a presence.
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Until recently, Tim Hortons was reserved only for Canada, sparsely scattered across the US, and convincing the brand to expand further was a challenging feat. Shake Shack was a New York dream and Muji’s Japanese minimalism was foreign to the Middle East. The UAE is a melting pot of powerful brands from all around the world, but there are still a few mighty brands and retail outlets with global international success that have not made it to our region.
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Urban Outfitters: The American multinational clothing firm operates in the United States, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. It is known for its kitcky, vintage and humorous clothing and carries multiple street brands at its 400 global retail locations.
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Tesco: After Walmart, Tesco is the second-largest retailer in the world measured by profits and revenues. It now has over 2,500 stores in 12 countries worldwide. MH Group is the exclusive distributor of Tesco Own Brand products in the UAE, which are available in Choithrams stores. However, a stand-alone store has not yet arrived to this region. It's surely only a matter of time as the UK’s grocery market leader also holds a primary position in Malaysia and Thailand.
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Walmart: A global phenomenon that is studied in universities across the globe, the American multinational retail corporation remains a family owned business. According to the Fortune Global 500 list in 2014, it is one of the world’s most valuable companies, the largest retailer and the biggest private employer in the world with over two million employees.
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Uniqlo: In 2009, the Japanese casual wear designer was aiming to become the biggest private label apparel retailer in the world with a continuous growth rate of 20 percent per year. In addition to Japan, Uniqlo also operates in the US, Australia, Bangladesh, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and Thailand.
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Cora’s: Eggspectation just set up on the sands of The Beach in Dubai this year, with a waiting list of almost an hour throughout the weekend mornings. Its rival, Cora’s, a.k.a Chez Cora’s for all the Quebecers out there, should not be far behind. The Canadian breakfast and lunch chain has over 170 locations across Canada and with the rise of the breakfast culture in the GCC; the chain would undoubtedly be in high demand.
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Staples: The American office supply chain is desperately needed in the UAE. Whether you’re a student, an entrepreneur, an artist, or an executive working from home or from an office, everything that you could possibly need from stationary to office supplies is neatly stacked in the warehouse layout of this retail outlet. Staples currently has over 2,000 stores worldwide. It operates in 28 countries including Canada, Germany, India, Italy, Norway, Portugal, and the United Kingdom.
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UGG Australia: “Where can I buy Uggs in Dubai?” is the most frequent query that comes up when you put the words Uggs and Dubai in a search engine. Contrary to the brand’s name, UGG is actually an American company that became famous for producing the traditional Australian unisex style of sheepskin boot. Although this specific aesthetic may be too hot for UAE weather, UGG also sells shoes, slippers, sandals, stilettos and platforms.
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American Apparel: The go-to place for all your basic and hipster fashion needs. Created by Montrealer Dov Charney, it is the manufacturer, wholeseller, distributer, retailer and even designer of its own label. Currently American Apparel has 273 stores in over 19 countries including Italy, Canada, the US, Mexico, China, Spain, Sweden, Korea, Japan and Australia.
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Bonds: The Australian manufacturer distributes staple pieces, such as underwear, sleepwear, maternity and light casual clothing, in multi-brand stores. They only have their stand-alone boutiques in Australia and are most well known for their Chesty Bond singlet, recognized by the muscle-bound character on its packaging.
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Prêt à Manger: The UK based restaurant chain is known for its fresh baguettes and wraps. Prêt à Manger claims that it only uses natural ingredients and all sandwiches are made on the day of purchase. The restaurant currently has over 360 shops spread across the UK, the US and Hong Kong.
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The Home Depot: The company is the largest home improvement retailer in the United States, with stores in all ten provinces of Canada, as well as Mexico. With a total of 2,248 locations, the company reported revenues of $74.754bn in 2013 and $78.812bn in 2014.
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Sainsbury’s: Sainsbury's is the second largest chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom with a total of 1,203 supermarkets and convenience store locations. Founded in 1869, the grocery outlet carries everything from appliances, toys, food and beverages, home and garden supplies, and technology. Part-owned by Qatar, its only a matter of time before it makes it over to the Middle East.
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