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UAE’s Brands For Less sets sights on Asia and Africa

Brands For Less has 60 stores in the UAE and is planning 75 for Saudi Arabia alone by the end of 2026 BFL Group
Brands For Less has 60 stores in the UAE and is planning 75 for Saudi Arabia alone by the end of 2026
  • $20m centre opened in Saudi
  • Off-price retailer looks beyond GCC
  • IPO an ‘option’ but no plans for now

UAE retail group Brands for Less (BFL Group) has revealed plans for international expansion including a $20 million distribution centre in Saudi Arabia.

The 38,000 square metre facility in Sudan City for Industry and Businesses close to Riyadh will employ 350 people and be able to store three million products.

BFL Group plans to increase the number of stores it operates in Saudi Arabia from 17 today to 75 by the end of 2026.

The company, which sells branded products at discounted prices, has several lines including Brands for Less fashion stores, Toys For Less, Homes For Less and Luxury For Less.

“When we opened our first two or three stores in Saudi we sensed that this is the market where they want the deal the most,” Ayman Beydoun, deputy chief executive officer and group chief operating officer of BFL Group, told AGBI.

“They want that treasure-hunt experience, to be there in the store.”

Founded in Lebanon, Brands For Less opened its first store in Beirut in 1996 and four years later expanded into the UAE, moving its headquarters to Dubai.

It is now present in all six GCC countries.

It operates 60 large format stores – averaging 1,200 square metres – in the UAE alone, where the company is enjoying organic growth of 20 percent year on year.

Beydoun said the plan was to have 103 stores in total by the end of the year.

Brands For Less co-founder Ayman BeydounBFL Group
BFL Group deputy CEO and COO Ayman Beydoun

“It’s a great growth journey to witness and I think there’s a lot more to see in the coming two to three years,” he said.

That includes a foray into international markets, with Africa and Asia viewed as possible destinations.

“Rather than being the largest off-price retailer in the Mena region, we want to be the largest off-price retailer in the whole of Asia, including the Middle East and Africa,” said Beydoun.

The off-price retail market refers to the segment of the retail industry that offers branded merchandise at discounted prices compared to traditional retail stores.

The global off-price retail market size was valued at $316 billion in 2023 and is expected to reach $559 billion by 2030, according to Coherent Market Insights.

BFL Group moved quickly to dismiss reports earlier this year of a planned sale of a minority stake in the company.

Beydoun revealed that they continue to “explore options” for future fundraising.

“We have plans to make BFL Group a global concept. Now whether that comes in from self funding from the business, or comes in from a minority business, or an IPO, that’s something that we will explore,” he said.

“There are no current plans for an IPO. This might be an option in the future.”