Rich List-The Al Shaya Family
Dubbed the ‘Franchise Superstar’ of the Middle East, Mohammed Al Shaya is chairman of one of the Gulf’s leading retail groups and an important figure within the region’s business community. Kuwait’s Alshaya Group has become increasingly diversified in recent years, moving into sectors including real estate, construction, hotels, multiple retailing, advertising and IT, and snapping up a host of new brands for the region’s malls.
The Gulf consumer boom has meant many millions flowing into his coffers, and encouragingly, Alshaya also shows signs of genuine concern for the Gulf retail market’s long-term health. He has called repeatedly for the urgent formation of a body to oversee the region’s retail expansion, arguing that “we are moving too far too fast”, and also urged family companies to spearhead the battle against the Middle East’s impending job shortage.
Established in 1890, the Alshaya Group has operations in eight Middle Eastern countries as well as in Cyprus, Russia and Poland. With over 1400 stores, the group’s retail arm employs 16,100 people, and is the Middle East franchisee of a large number of international companies including Starbucks, H&M, Debenhams, Boots, Next, River Island, Motivi, VaVaVoom, Mothercare, Peacocks, Steve Madden, Stride Rite, Bear Factory, Liz Claiborne, Tommy Hilfiger, Claire’s, Etam, Tammy, Elena Miro, Oltre, Vero Moda and Exit.
The main group is divided into four sectors — real estate, hotels, automotive and the MH Alshaya Company.
It owns a wide portfolio of land, while its hotels include the Kuwait Sheraton and Medina Oberoi. It also has exclusive dealerships for Mazda and Peugeot in Kuwait.