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Retail and consumer news from the Middle East. All the important stories, exclusive interviews, plus authoritative opinion and analysis

An artist's impression of part of the Diriyah Square development

Diriyah Square planned for historic Riyadh district

A public space featuring 400 retail outlets and 100 restaurants and cafes is planned for the historic Riyadh district of Diriyah. Diriyah Square will be announced next week at the World Retail Congress in Paris and aims to attract a combination of international retail brands and local artisans.  Diriyah Gate Development Authority group CEO Jerry […]

GCC Western brands boycott

Boycott of western brands hurts GCC workers, Apparel chief warns

Boycotts of western brands by Gulf consumers in protest against the Gaza conflict only hurts local workers in the region, the founder of the fashion and lifestyle retail conglomerate Apparel Group has warned. The company, which is based in the UAE and handles more than 80 brands from the US, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia […]

2BYN5A4 Mall of the Emirates is a shopping mall in the Al Barsha district of Dubai.. Image shot 04/2014. Exact date unknown.

The pros and pitfalls of pop-up shops

Pop-up shops are appearing in more shopping malls, hotels and even beach clubs. Whether they are for new brands looking to build a name or more established companies opting for a more experiential way to market and test their products, pop-ups are largely temporary affairs designed to create a buzz. They are also considered a […]

2BF61E1 Young Arab woman using laptop for online shopping at home

Electronic retail payments rise to 70% in Saudi Arabia

The Saudi central bank said this week that the share of electronic payments in the retail sector rose to 70 percent in 2023 from 62 percent the year before, as the government tries to boost online banking and the fintech sector.  A total 10.8 billion transactions were processed in 2023 compared to 8.7 billion transactions […]

Cenomi will reduce its number of stores from 1,000 to 367 following last year's losses

Cenomi Retail to divest more brands in turnaround plan

Franchiser Cenomi Retail has announced another round of brand divestments as it seeks to tackle rising losses. The Saudi company closed more than 200 stores last year and sold 16 brands in the first quarter of 2024. On Wednesday Cenomi Retail said its board of directors had approved the third phase of the sell-off. The […]

Strong demand for Inditex brands such as Zara increased international earnings to SAR1.1 billion

Saudi retailer Cenomi reveals major brand sale

Saudi-based franchiser Cenomi Retail has announced the sale of 16 brands in the first quarter of 2024 as part of a turnaround strategy to stem mounting losses. Cenomi transferred 226 stores in Saudi Arabia to Abdullah Al Othaim Fashion Company. This follows the retailer’s exit from some international markets and the net closure of an […]

Wanda Plaza in Changzhou, Jiangsu province. Dalian Wanda Commercial Management Group will retain 40 percent of Newland Commercial Management

ADIA and Mubadala join $8.3bn China shopping mall deal

Two Abu Dhabi state-backed companies are part of a group which has agreed to invest $8.3 billion to acquire a 60 percent stake in Chinese property major Dalian Wanda’s shopping mall subsidiary. The investment was led by Hong Kong private equity firm PAG, along with Platinum Peony B 2023 RSC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Abu […]

Saudi Arabia rose nine places in the Kearney Global Retail Development Index, putting it 'at the forefront of retail's next wave of growth'

Cenomi Centers’ growth reflects Saudi retail potential

Saudi Arabia’s largest operator of shopping malls has reported record footfall, which drove a 49 percent jump in net profit last year. The number of visitors to Cenomi Centers malls rose by 19 percent to 124 million in 2023, smashing the previous pre-Covid record of 114 million in 2019. The company delivered SAR2.3 billion ($613 […]

Retailer Lulu has branches across the Mena region, India and the Far East. It plans a billion-dollar IPO before the end of the year

UAE’s Lulu selects banks for potential $2bn IPO

UAE’s retail conglomerate LuLu Group International has appointed local and international banks to lead its proposed $2 billion initial public offering (IPO), according to a media report. The company, which is among the largest hypermarket chain operators in the Middle East, has selected Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Citigroup, Emirates NBD Capital and HSBC Holdings to […]

Aster expects the sale of its GCC business to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2024

Aster DM says India, GCC business split nears closure

Hospital chain Aster DM Healthcare has confirmed that the separation of its GCC and Indian businesses and the proposed investment in the former by a Dubai private equity firm are nearing completion.  The company agreed to sell a 65 percent stake in its Gulf business to a state-backed Fajr Capital-led consortium for $1 billion in November […]


Saudi PIF ‘interested’ in buying stake in UK Selfridges

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) is looking to buy a stake in British luxury department store Selfridges after the collapse of one of its owners, as it seeks ways to improve funding flows to Saudi giga-projects.  Austrian company Signa faces insolvency, opening up its 50 percent share in Selfridges to acquisition. The other owner […]

People visit the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai. Majid Al Futtaim Properties revenue grew by 20%

Currency concerns hit Majid Al Futtaim’s retail revenue

Dubai conglomerate Majid Al Futtaim recorded a slight increase in revenues over the past year but the company’s retail business was hamstrung by geopolitical tensions and currency concerns across several countries. Overall revenue was up by a single percentage point to AED34.5 billion ($9.4 billion) for 2023, with profit rising 12 percent to AED2.7 billion.  […]

Uzbekistan's retail sector is moving away from traditional markets and towards retail chains

Cenomi’s Uzbekistan debut a sign of Saudi trade ambitions

Saudi retail major Cenomi has announced its debut in Uzbekistan in tandem with the kingdom’s efforts to expand bilateral trade with the Central Asian nation. Uzbekistan is Cenomi’s 11th-largest international market, and it has signed a deal to open eight international brands – including a flagship Zara store – at the newly developed Tashkent City […]

Tourists at Lake Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Businesses are confident that growth will continue throughout 2024

Dubai’s non-oil economic growth at five-year high

Dubai’s non-oil economy has recorded its highest growth since before the pandemic, according to the latest business sentiment survey for the emirate.  At 58.5 in February, the S&P Global Dubai Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) increased from January’s 56.6 to the highest seen since May 2019.  The number is well above the 50.0 mark which separates […]

BinDawood profit reached 4.9% in 2023 as revenue rose 14.4% year on year to SAR5.6 billion

BinDawood profit more than doubles on higher revenue

Saudi grocery retailer BinDawood Holding more than doubled its profit in 2023, on higher revenue and gross profit margin. Earnings for the 12-month period reached SAR275 million ($73 million) compared with SAR125 million the previous year. Revenue rose 14.4 percent year on year to SAR5.6 billion amid high sales from BinDawood and Danube stores, as […]