Luxury Brands Target Gulf States

DUBAI — Dealers of luxury brands operating in the Dubai Airport Freezone have changed their business strategies by increasing sales in the oil-rich Gulf states to escape the negative impacts caused by the global financial crisis.

By Abdul Basit

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Published: Sun 30 Aug 2009, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 10:20 PM

Trade specialists believe that although the region will not be totally insulated from the credit crunch unlike the US and Europe, the Middle East will be less affected. Dealers of luxury products are upbeat on the Gulf markets’ rising demand for high-end brands.

“In luxury goods markets, once thought to be immune to the ebbs and flows of economic fluctuations, the impact is felt, though, marginally,” according to a study released by Bain & Company, a global consulting firm.

“Our Middle East markets have been slightly hit by the worldwide downturn, however this has helped us innovate and adopt new marketing tactics and open new markets with new different variety of products,” said representatives of a number of luxury brands’.

The Bain & Company study predicts as much as a seven per cent decline in global luxury sales for 2009 using constant exchange rates, in contrast to a possible two per cent decline when using current exchange rates.

“We are hardly one hour few minutes away from any one of the Gulf countries, therefore we play an essential role in open opportunities for any company wants to get into these markets,” Mohammed Ali bin Suwailem, Director of Sales at Dubai Airport Freezone, said.

Suwailem said that high-end luxury brands, mid level and primary level international brands targeting the Gulf, Middle East and Africa have a strong presence in the freezone, which is strategically located.

Gerald Schutzlhoffer, Managing Director, Enjoy Bijoux a company which caters to the luxury segment with high end jewellery and luxury watch brands such as Chronoswiss, Perrelet, Hanhar, Jacques Lemans, Faberge, Meister, Gellner, Humphrey and Buben and Zorweg said, “Customers in the region are brand conscious and the luxury segment in the region has tremendous potential. The market is growing significantly and we have experienced consistent growth.”

The jewellery sector in the region is also experiencing the presence of a strong market. “It is part of Asian tradition to gift gold and diamond jewellery during marriages and engagements. This aspect is helping the sector and in spite of global recession the industry has not experienced a major setback so far. The tourist market has been affected and this has caused some slow down in the trade, but still we can say the market is upbeat,” said Rihen Mehta, Executive Director, Rosy Blue.

Amjad Saeed of The Mosbach Group said that “We deal with exclusive and premium diamonds and writing equipment. Whatever happens, the high-end luxury sector is not affected. We have seen this over the years.”

· abdulbasit@khaleejtimes.com



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