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

Qatari fund sells half its stake in Spanish retailer El Corte Ingles

Privately owned Spanish department store chain El Corte Ingles said on Tuesday it bought back half of the stake Qatari fund Primefin held in the company. Primefin, an investment vehicle of Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al Thani, the former Prime Minister of Qatar, will keep a 5.53 percent stake in Corte Ingles, while […]

Milk, Beverage, Drink

Danone trims product range as shoppers balk at high prices

French food giant Danone is cutting the variety of products it sells to retailers to cut costs, a top executive told Reuters, meaning yoghurt fans may in future miss out on the exact flavour or pot-size they’re used to. Supermarkets and the makers of packaged food are struggling to combat rising costs, with products ranging […]

Dior show in Spain glitters with flamenco notes

A live show by Christian Dior in the Spanish city of Seville on Thursday included a colourful celebration of flamenco. The event is one of several that mark the return of luxury labels to the catwalk after a period of dormancy during the COVID-19 pandemic. The event in the city’s historic Plaza de Espana showcased […]

UAE shoppers less price-conscious than Europeans but not for long

UAE shoppers are much less price-conscious when buying goods and services, compared to their European counterparts, but the record rising cost of living may see this becoming more of a priority for some over the next 12 months, according to a new retail report. In a survey in April of 5,250 consumers in seven countries […]

Poster advertising 618 shopping festival in Beijing

Retail festival to test Covid-hit Chinese shoppers’ urge to splurge

China will get a picture of how its zero-Covid policy and slowing economy are affecting shoppers’ urge to splurge this weekend, as e-commerce platforms gear up to report takings from the mid-year 618 shopping festival. The retail event, held in the run-up to June 18, is China’s second-largest by sales after Singles Day on November […]

Online shopping surges 32% in UAE

The total number of debit and credit cards used for online transactions in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) increased by nearly a third during the first quarter of this year. Consumers continue to embrace the e-commerce sector despite travel and shopping restrictions returning to normal following the coronavirus pandemic. Network International, a payment processing firm […]

Saudi mall reopens after blaze cost $6.67m

Saudi retail operator Arabian Centres has reopened Mall of Dhahran, in the eastern province of the kingdom, and confirmed in a statement to the Saudi Exchange that the financial cost of a fire at the site last month will be roughly 25 million Saudi riyals ($6.67 million). In the bourse statement, Arabian Centres confirmed that […]

A Starbucks coffee shop. Kuwait's Alshaya Group is reportedly selling up to 30 percent of its Starbucks franchise

Saudi PIF ‘shortlisted as bidder for stake in Starbucks MENA’

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has been shortlisted to buy a stake in the Middle East, North Africa and central Asia Starbucks franchise held by Alshaya Group, according to two sources. The franchise has several hundred coffee shops in 14 countries across the Middle East, Russia and central Asia. Kuwait-based Alshaya Group, the region’s […]

Beware the NFT bandwagon, crypto lawyer warns shoppers

As Gulf retail brands venture into non-fungible tokens (NFTs), customers need to be careful not to fall for fear-of-missing-out (FOMO) syndrome, and jump on the digital bandwagon without fully understanding what they’re buying into, a leading cryptocurrency and blockchain lawyer has said.  Her warning comes as Dubai-based retail giant Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) and blockchain […]

UAE’s Al-Futtaim Group to invest up to $1bn in Egypt

Dubai-based Al-Futtaim Group said it is eyeing investments in Egypt worth $700 million to $1 billion over the next three years, an Egyptian cabinet statement said on Thursday. Gulf Arab states are channelling up to $22 billion to Egypt to help it overcome a currency crisis, the third such rescue in a decade, as analysts […]

Dubai’s Aramex in $265m deal to buy US e-commerce firm

Dubai-listed courier firm Aramex has bought US-based e-commerce company Access USA Shipping, in a deal valued at around $265 million, it was reported on Wednesday. Access USA Shipping, operating as MyUS, is described as a technology-driven, cross-border e-commerce platform, and serves customers in the US, UK and China. “We see significant benefits to be derived […] says it is being unfairly targeted by US Congress bill

By David Shepardson and Diane Bartz Inc on Wednesday lambasted a bill in Congress barring tech giants from giving preference to their own businesses on their websites, saying it unfairly singles the retailer out while not subjecting rivals to similar regulations. The Senate could vote on the bill as early as this month, media […]

Turkish delivery company Getir to cut 14% of staff

Turkish fast grocery delivery company Getir plans to cut 14 percent of its staff globally, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Founded in 2015, Istanbul-based Getir operates in around 50 cities across seven European countries, the United States as well as all major cities in its home country. The source said the […]

Middle East breathes in smoking hot tobacco sales

The Middle East tobacco industry has seen strong growth in recent months, helped by duty free sales as the travel sector reopens following the pandemic. British tobacco firm Imperial Brands, which manages brands such as Davidoff, JPS and West cigarettes, reported this week that while its global revenue was down 1.3 percent to £15.362 billion […]

Person, Human, Sunglasses

Chiara Ferragni reveals investor interest in fashion brand

Chiara Ferragni has received various expressions of interest from potential investors in her brand, the Italian Instagram star said in an interview with Milano Finanza. Ferragni, 35, is Italy’s top fashion influencer with 27 million followers on Instagram. In January she mandated BNP Paribas to find an investor to help expand her fashion brand internationally. […]

Mashreq is predicting buy now, pay later transaction volumes in the UAE will increase by 60 percent to 80 percent in 2022. Picture: Creative Commons

Mashreq puts $10m into Cashew, buy now, pay later start-up

United Arab Emirates buy now, pay later platform Cashew announced on Monday it had secured up to $10 million in debt and equity financing from local lender Mashreqbank PSC which would now help it expand faster. The deal is the latest investment in the Gulf’s growing buy now, pay later sector that has drawn interest […]

Qatar scores as World Cup host but may not net long-term goals

Tucked behind Doha’s $300-million Lusail Boulevard, where construction workers are toiling to transform desert into a Champs-Elysees-inspired commercial thoroughfare before the 2022 soccer World Cup, sits a sole convenience store. With the main stadium, four skyscrapers and apartments designed for some 200,000 people all in Lusail, its manager Younes waits somewhat anxiously behind his till, […]

Moncler bets on store expansion, footwear to drive growth

Italian luxury group Moncler said on Thursday it would open, refurbish or relocate 200 stores in the next three years, mostly in Asia, and diversify into shoes and clothes for warmer weather. The group, which in 2020 acquired streetwear brand Stone Island, also said it expected to beat analyst forecasts for annual sales of 2.43 […]

Wristwatch, Clock Tower, Building

Swiss watchmakers grapple with fallout of Russian crisis

Swiss watchmakers are gathering in Geneva this week for their first big industry event in three years, tackling the impact of sanctions on rich Russians arisingfrom the war in Ukraine. Russia was only the 17th largest market for Swiss watch exports last year, but how to manage business and client relations during such a sensitive […]