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Japanese sports brand Asics kicks off Gulf expansion in Doha

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Asics stores are being rolled out in the Gulf following a 21 percent hike in net profit to $167.1m
  • 20 stores in Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain
  • World Cup has positive impact on Qatar retail sector

Japanese sports brand Asics has signed a deal with the UAE’s Apparel Group to develop branded retail stores across the Gulf.

The five-year franchise agreement will see the rollout of 20 stores in Qatar, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain, with the first outlet opening in Doha Festival City Mall this week.

Commenting on this partnership announcement, Mano Takayuki, general manager, Asics Arabia said: “We are very proud to partner with Apparel Group for the launch of ASICS stores in the GCC. This marks a new stage of growth for the brand in the Middle East and signifies our commitment to enhancing communities through sports.”

Headquartered in Kobe and founded in 1949, Asics posted nine-month net profit of Y23.2 billion ($167.1 million), up 21.6 percent year-on-year.

Partner Apparel Group is a Dubai-headquartered global fashion and lifestyle retail conglomerate with over 2010 stores across the Gulf, covering 78 brands and employing over 17,300 staff.

Last week AGBI reported that the World Cup has had an immediate impact on private sector activity in Qatar, including the retail sector.

The Fifa tournament began on November 20 and the latest Purchasing Managers’ Index report, from Qatar Financial Centre, said the country’s wholesale, retail and service providers reported a rapid expansion in the second half of the month. 

Prices increased at a series-record rate, with the tournament supporting higher rates for hotels, rentals, flights and other tourist services. 

Yousuf Mohamed Al Jaida, CEO of the Qatar Financial Centre Authority, said: “November saw a rapid expansion in business activity in Qatar’s non-oil private sector as the World Cup kicked off, with growth unsurprisingly driven by the wholesale, retail and services sectors. 

“These industries also registered marked increases in selling prices during the month, with the overall rate of output price inflation the highest on record.”

More than 1 million fans are expected to visit Qatar during the World Cup, which runs until December 18, and the authorities are hoping their presence will spark a tourism boom.