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Luxury brands look to UAE to drive business growth

Abdul Basit
Filed on March 4, 2012
Luxury brands look to UAE to drive business growth

DUBAI — The UAE and especially Dubai is an ideal place for global luxury brands to grow their businesses, with the country having the largest luxury market within the Gulf region, according to an industry specialist.

Due to a “fabulous” infrastructure, the UAE is attracting numerous luxury companies to establish their head offices here. Through retail shopping, construction of new hotels and tourism attractions, the country is fast becoming one of the major global hubs for luxury goods and services. Therefore, every luxury brand is looking towards the country as a must have location to grow their businesses.

“In my opinion, the luxury market holds 60 per cent market [share in the UAE],” Ali Cheaito, retail operations manager at Valencia Shoes, told Khaleej Times in an interview.

The UAE’s luxury segment will continue to increase its market share, said Cheaito, who has a 20-year experience in the luxury goods sector and has taken training in fashions and trends in Milan. He heads store operations and sales of all Valencia and its brand’s stores. He is also involved in the buying process which includes traveling to Italy, Spain, France and Germany.

Valencia Shoes is recognised as one of the most looked upon designer footwear outlets in the region and has been operating in the UAE for the past 23 years. In 2005, Valencia joined hands with the Landmark Group, the region’s largest retailer.

Valencia currently has eight stores in the UAE and is present in in the Mall of the Emirates, Mirdif City Centre and Deira City Centre in Dubai; Bawadi Mall in Al Ain; and Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi. Excerpts from the interview:

How do you see the future of the Middle East luxury market?

It has been growing each year especially Dubai that is fast becoming a global player in luxury market. Thus from high-end retail, to luxury hotels, and tourist attractions, globetrotters are visiting this city that offers them a sophisticated lifestyle with a lot of security. Other reasons are growing per capita income of the region and Dubai’s emergence as a fashion hotspot. We must keep in mind that the regional consumers are more educated, more demanding and look for new and innovative products and Valencia provides them what they desire.

How soon do the latest designs get into the UAE after its launch in top markets?

Considering Dubai as a luxury capital, all the latest designs reach Dubai at the same time they are launched in Europe. The reason is the emerging stylish youth market that is driving the luxury goods sector in the region. They are the ones who are very fashion conscious and indulge in luxury product buys right from a young age compared to older women in the west. We have a long list of loyal customers who not only enjoy the luxury experience in our stores but excellent customer service as well.

Do you see growth in luxury brands’ share in the UAE? What is Valencia market share?

Yes we do. We believe we have a healthy market share as we havebeen here for almost 25 years. Valencia has created a niche for itself over the last two decades because the brands we offer are the most-sought after brands in Italian tradition and innovation. We are very proud to be associated with these brands because they are famous for their quality and world-class craftsmanship. The creative idea of each collection always focuses on aesthetics making each pair a unique work of art. Owning a collection from one of these leading footwear designers is indeed an experience.

How many brands does Valencia sell in the UAE?

Valencia sells around nine brands and seven monobrands. For women searching for exclusive and top-of-the-line international designer footwear and accessories, Valencia Shoes is the perfect store. Carrying a line of high-end brands that have wowed the fastidious taste of the trendiest celebrity A-listers and charmed the exquisite style of the world’s leading fashion minded women, Valencia Shoes is recognised as one of the most looked upon designer footwear outlets in the region. Valencia Shoes has been operating in the UAE for the last 23 years and is recognised for its progressive fashion footwear and leather. Valencia is a multi-branded store that houses world-renowned footwear designer labels for men and women.

Is there any plan to open more stores in 2012 in the UAE?

Yes we are planning to open up a number of stores in the years to come. This year we will open up luxury stores for GZD in Abu Dhabi and two more for Loriblu and for Casadei, respectively.

Are you planning to explore new markets in the Middle East this year?

Yes, we are constantly looking for potential markets. Therefore we intend to open stores in Beirut, Bahrain and Qatar in the next five years. Looking at the market dynamics, I can say that the two potential markets in the region are Bahrain and Qatar.


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