The American fashion brand Nautica relaunched its Dubai Mall store on Tuesday with new partner Apparel Group.
In an interview with Gulf News, Patricia Canavan, Vice President and General Manager — Nautica Licensing, said that there would be two further store openings this year in the GCC.
She added that the brand was targeting the Avenues mall in Kuwait and was looking to launch in Jeddah also.
Nautica, established in New York City in 1983, currently has 12 stores in the Gulf region, and is aiming to add 18 stores in the next five years, according to Canavan.
“From a population perspective Saudi Arabia represents the greatest opportunity for expansion. We are looking at opening in the tier two cities, as well,” she said.
The company also believes that Saudi Arabia also holds the biggest potential for the growth of their online business.
Apparel Group, a Dubai-based retail conglomerate, is the local partner for brands such as Calvin Klein, Cath Kidston and Tommy Hilfiger. It operates over 1,700 stores across the region.
Together, the senior Nautica official said, they have overhauled the flagship store in Dubai Mall.
“We are reintroducing the brand in various ways. It is a new retail concept for us in Dubai,” Canavan said.
The relaunch at Dubai Mall was spurred by the change in partnership, she said, adding that “there was a need to get out of certain locations that may not have been brand appropriate. Certain commercial centres become obsolete over time.”
Canavan said that Nautica was developing its relationship with the Apparel Group, who has the expertise and can give us feedback on the new product as we go and ensures that we do not alienate existing customers.
Dubai will remain the lifestyle brand’s hub, she said, despite Saudi Arabia potentially making up 50 per cent of the company’s business in the future.
This market “has done a better job than most at diversifying away from pure retail experiences,” Canavan said in the interview, noting that the future of malls was about engaging with customers, not simply trying to sell to them.
“Having ski slopes, having fountains, having parks — that’s the future of retail,” she said.