By Beatrice Thomas
Retail major unveils new company brand as it embarks on expansion across Middle East markets
Dubai-based shopping mall, retail and leisure group Majid Al Futtaim has heralded a new era in the family-owned company by announcing Tuesday a $5bn investment plan as part of its new unified branding push.
Under the new direction, a diverse group of companies will unify under one umbrella corporate brand – Majid Al Futtaim – with the symbol “M” to be displayed across its assets, including City Centre Malls, VOX Cinemas, Carrefour, Magic Planet, Najm Credit Cards, Ski Dubai and Mall of the Emirates.
Majid Al Futtaim Holding CEO Iyad Malas said despite 20 years of history, the rebranding would make clear that Majid Al Futtaim was behind brands and experiences provided to 250 million customers across the Middle East each year.
He said it was also a chance to “stand out from the competition” and deliver “long-term results and financial returns”, though he declined to give specifics other than say it was aiming for double revenue growth this year.
“We’re taking this opportunity to strengthen ourselves in new and existing markets around the region to our consumers, our people and the communities in which we operate,” he said.
Malas said the company, which had about $10bn in assets, planned to double in size by 2018, after similar growth over the past two decades, and was in a position to make investments totalling $1bn a year for the next five years.
Majid Al Futtaim owns and operates 16 shopping malls and 11 hotels in the MENA. It also holds the rights to the Carrefour franchise in 19 markets in MENA and Central Asia, operating 50 hypermarkets and 47 supermarkets in 12 countries.
Malas said the company’s expansion will be driven by new malls opening in Saudi and Egypt, residential projects in Lebanon, hypermarkets, cinemas, family entertainment centres and snow park openings.
He said investments, especially in property, depended on finding the right land at the right location and price.
George Kostas, Majid Al Futtaim CEO of Properties, said the company had made announcements for AED3bn ($817m) in the UAE, including the refurbishment and expansion of the Mall of the Emirates and expansion of the Sharjah City Centre.
It was also developing designs for a super regional mall in Sharjah and had recently acquired land in Tecom for a new community centre.
In other countries, it would on Friday sign a deal for a new mall in Muscat in Oman, while he expected work on a City Centre in Beirut to start in two to three years, which would then be followed by a third.
Kostas said the Mall of Egypt was on track for delivery in 2016, while it was eyeing two extra sites in Egypt that were under design development.
“In addition to our current markets, Saudi Arabia plays a very important part in our future growth in the region and we are currently looking at Saudi for where we can potential open,” he said.
Kostos said Majid Al Futtaim was involved in three large mixed-use projects, which were underway, but flagged further growth in the residential sector as a result of the rebranding.
Martin Lindstrom, an international branding consultant who worked with Majid Al Futtaim to deliver the new brand direction, said the aim of the new logo was to be simple and immediately recognisable.
He said it took three components that are unique to the heritage of Majid Al Futtaim – the sand, reflected by the colour, which represents the firm’s beginnings in the UAE, the arch, which was inspired by the iconic dome from Mall of the Emirates; and the M, standing for Majid.
AED3bn ($817bn) ...should be $817mn :)