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Thu 12 Dec 2019 10:47 AM

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Dubai Harrods department store is 'unlikely' says executive

The luxury retailer attracts 60,000 Arab customers a year, said an airport store may be possible

Dubai Harrods department store is 'unlikely' says executive

Established in 1849 on Brompton Road in London’s Knightsbridge, Harrods is a popular retail attraction for Gulf visitors to London.


London’s Harrods has no plans to open a department store in Dubai in the near future, but it would be open to the possibility of a smaller airport store, a senior executive from the company said.

During an interview on Wednesday with Dubai Eye’s Business Breakfast radio show, Guy Cheston, partnerships director at Harrods, was asked if a physical store in Dubai was in the luxury retailer’s future plans.

“I think it’s unlikely for the time being. There is only one Harrods, as we say,” Cheston said. “We are a global icon and we attract people from all over the world that come to Harrods in London and that’s where the focus is.”

However, Cheston did not rule out the possibility of a smaller store located within one of the region’s airports.

“We have airport stores around the world and that could be a possibility in the future,” he said, while conceding that no discussions have so far taken place with officials from Dubai Airports.

Gulf customers

Established in 1849 on Brompton Road in London’s Knightsbridge, Harrods is a popular retail attraction for Gulf visitors to London.

“The Gulf customer is our second biggest international customer base behind China. We attract just under 60,000 customers a year from the Middle East region and they spend significantly in the store especially over those peak summer months,” Cheston said.

Luxury retailers have been struggling in many parts of the world and in October it was reported that Harrods had reported a 3 percent dip in profits to £171.6 million ($225.58m) for the year to February 9, as turnover rose to £868.6m over the same period, up from £862.5 million the year before.

“Despite the geopolitical tensions around the world, and the threat of US-China trade wars and the slowdown in China, we have actually had a tremendous year. 2019 has proved to be a very strong year again,” Cheston said in the Dubai Eye interview, adding that for 2020 there were “challenges ahead for the luxury sector”.

Qatar Holding bought Harrods from Egyptian businessman Mohamed Al Fayed for a reported £1.5 billion in 2010.

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