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Abercrombie & Fitch flagship store in the region ‘achieves many firsts’

CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Fashion discusses new brand acquisitions as well as the luxury retail market in general

Majid Al Futtaim Fashion recently introduced several fashion and apparel brands to the Middle East, including AllSaints, Lululemon Athletica and Abercrombie & Fitch.

“When launched here, we achieved a lot of firsts in the launch itself,” says Rajiv Suri, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Fashion. “This is the brand’s first new concept store in the region, it has kidswear in it, which is a very big part of the industry in the region, and it has the first fragrance store, globally.”

The 18,000 sqft A&F flagship store is located in the recently opened extension at Mall of the Emirates.

While continuing its focus on acquiring more brands and further expanding its portfolio, the retail group will also be actively working to expand the presence of its recently added brands across retail destinations in the UAE and the region.

“We are looking to continue to grow our brands. Now that we have a nice portfolio of iconic labels, we are going to focus on expanding them into other countries. I think that is really what our main focus is. We are looking for more acquisitions, like the one we made with Monsoon and Accessorize, and we are also looking into new brands,” Suri explains.

“Saudi Arabia is one of the countries we are looking at and I think that Qatar is one place that will be bigger next year, because there are two big malls coming up. So, a lot of brands will be coming. And with the big real estate developments going on, I think that is what is going to keep us busy for 2016,” he adds.

When luxury brands open boutiques, where should they be?

When it comes to luxury goods and upscale brands, bigger malls are the place to be, assures Suri, adding that while both small destinations and larger shopping malls are capable of accommodating all sorts of brands, the latter are a better fit for luxury labels.

“You need to have your flagship malls to represent the brands, give the consumers a wide variety of merchandise and create destinations for tourists,” he says. “With regards to attachment malls, I think they are good for essentials, for basics, for doing a quick run…but I think when it comes to luxury and international brands, flagship stores, wide choices and variety…bigger malls .”

Suri does acknowledge, however, that “as the market evolves, you need to have a combination of both.”