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Booming Saudi Retail Market Fuels Alhokair Expansion Drive

Middle East : 06 September

Source: Reuters

* Plans 250 new stores in 2013 financial year, 170 in Saudi

* CIS countries a particular focus

* Saudi consumer sector booming on higher incomes

* Egyptian placed on hold

KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia, Sept 4 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabian retailer Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair plans to open nearly 250 stores at home and abroad this financial year, a top executive said, as the kingdom’s booming retail sector provides a platform to expand into new markets.

Alhokair has benefited in recent years from a buoyant consumer goods sector, boosted by rising incomes on the back of government efforts to improve the plight of Saudi nationals after the 2011 Arab Spring.

The average salary in the kingdom jumped by about 55 percent between 2009 and 2012, HSBC data shows, partly thanks to measures including increased public sector employment and a new minimum wage.

The trend has been noted by investors, with Alhokair’s share price climbing nearly 91 percent in the year to Sept. 3, against the wider Saudi market’s 15.2 percent gain.

Alhokair net profit rose nearly 37 percent year on year in the three months to June 30, and President Abdulmajeed Alhokair told Reuters this week that it now plans to strengthen its presence both at home and abroad, with the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) a particular focus.

“The company opens 200 stores every year, but this year the number will be a bit higher because of the new brands and new locations in Saudi,” he said, referencing franchises such as Mango and Stradivarius, which it secured through its purchase of Nesk Group last year.

Alhokair owns franchise rights to market 75 international brands in the Middle East, including Zara, Marks & Spencer, Gap, Aldo, Monsoon, Accessorize and Topshop. It has about 1,300 stores worldwide in countries including Jordan, Egypt, Morocco and Kazakhstan.

“We will open in Saudi and the Middle East around 250 stores – on average one shop every day and a half,” the president said, adding that about 170 of these would be in its home market.

Acquisitions are also part of the company’s growth plans. Alhokair said the firm is in talks to buy two companies in Saudi, though he declined to give details.

Its expansion is partly supported by a 50 percent capital increase from a bonus share issue agreed in July, which took its paid-up capital to 1.05 billion riyals ($280 million).

One country currently excluded from the expansion drive is Egypt, which despite providing strong growth from its 70 stores continues to suffer from political turmoil since the removal of President Mohamed Mursi by the armed forces in July.

“We had two tough months but from the beginning of the year until now it’s positive growth in Egypt – like-for-like growth is 13 percent, which is a good indication despite the current conditions,” Alhokair said. ($1 = 3.7505 Saudi riyals)

06 September

UAE Ranks Higher Than Other Countries Bidding for Expo 2020

Source: Gulf News 2013
Dubai: The UAE ranks highest on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) out of the countries with cities bidding for the World Expo 2020.
Released on Tuesday, The Global Competitiveness Report is an annual release assessing the competitiveness landscape of 148 economies.
According to the 2013-2014 report, the UAE ranked 19th [...]

06 September

5 Reasons Why Dubai Property Prices Will Continue to Rise

Source: Emirates 24|7
Residential property prices in Dubai are in the midst of another boom, but this time it’s fundamentals – and not speculation – at play, a leading global bank has said in a new report published today, indicating that the rally will continue as long as the fundamentals remain in place.
Economic growth, improving demographics, [...]

30 August

Kuwait Revenue Expected to Surge by 30 Percent as Consumer Confidence Reaches Record High in the UAE and UAE Conglomerate Spends Dh2 Billion on Expansion

Revenue in Kuwait Set to Rise by 30 Percent
Strengthening oil prices and high levels of output combine to push revenue in Kuwait higher by almost 30 percent in the coming fiscal year. These conditions should result in a massive budget surplus, according to a study by NBK.
Forecasts put government revenue up 30 percent, driven by [...]

30 August

Revealed: $130bn Dubai Mega Projects Launched in the Last Year

Source: Arabian Business
Dubai has unveiled a raft of construction projects in the past year worth more than $130bn, an analysis by Arabian Business has found.
The announcements by major developers includes a growing pipeline of mega projects in what has been touted as a resurgence in the development sector.
However, property analysts say the ambitious construction agenda, [...]

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