Retail Cenomi enters Uzbekistan as new mall launches By Andy Sambidge October 11, 2023 Cenomi Franchiser Cenomi Retail will open Inditex stores in the upcoming Tashkent City Mall Saudi retailer opening 9 stores Tashkent City Mall to cover 250,000 sq m Cenomi following ‘Saudi First’ strategy Saudi franchiser Cenomi Retail has announced plans to enter Uzbekistan as part of its capital city’s urban redevelopment. The retailer has signed an agreement for nine international brands to open in Tashkent City Mall, an upcoming 250,000 sq m project. Having signed Aldo and Cinnabon agreements in April, the company confirmed that it will also open seven Inditex brand stores in the new mall, anchored by Zara, in addition to Pull & Bear, Stradivarius, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Oysho and Zara Home. Store closures help Cenomi Retail return to profit Cenomi Centers doubles profit as mall visitors rise Saudi firms in talks to create retail powerhouse The partnership is despite a “Saudi First” strategy announced by Cenomi earlier this year under which it is considering options to exit markets in the United States and the Balkans. It will also close 55 stores in Morocco and Egypt as part of its drive for profitability. However, the company says it is confident of success in Uzbekistan. The country has a population of more than 30 million and a retail sector that is modernising to meet the increasing demands of consumers. “The retail sector in Uzbekistan is continually picking up pace, seeing double digit growth in sales,” Dr Gunther Helm, CEO of Cenomi Retail, said. “Having experienced strong success in a number of CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries to date, we are confident that our know-how will promote Uzbekistan as a vibrant market for growth.” Uzbekistan has attracted billions of dollars worth of investments from Gulf-based companies in the clean energy sector. Earlier this year, Saudi-based Acwa Power unveiled $2.5 billion deals with the National Electric Grid of Uzbekistan and Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Investment, Industry and Trade to include three solar projects and three battery energy storage systems on top of plans for three wind power plants. Leaders from the GCC and countries in Central Asia, known as the C5 bloc, pledged to boost trade at a summer summit in Jeddah. Latest figures show the value of GCC exports to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan surpassed $2 billion, while imports totalled more than $1 billion. Cenomi Retail posted net profit of SAR113 million ($30 million) during the first six months of 2023, compared with a small loss in the year-earlier period as the company closed dozens of stores. Cenomi Retail, formed as Fawaz A Alhokair & Co in 1990, trades in more than 1,300 stores across 100 shopping malls in 11 countries and employs 10,000 people.