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Ace shoe designer to open Dubai outlet

Christian Louboutin eyes Middle East for expansion, will unveil stores in Riyadh and Beirut

Image Credit: Oliver Clarke/Gulf News
Christian Louboutin talks with guests at a ladies' lunch wherea collection of his shoes was on display at Emirates Towers.
Gulf News

Dubai: As Christian Louboutin gears up to open his first standalone store in Dubai at the Mall of the Emirates in October, the maker behind the red-soled shoes said his expectations have been sky-high.

In an interview with Gulf News during his visit to Dubai yesterday, Louboutin says he has been extremely choosy about the store location, the product detailing and the size of the store.

"The look of the store is very important to me. I look into every detail such as the architecture, the size of the store, the height of the ceiling and the galleries above it. The store should finally reflect the flavour of the region too," said Louboutin. After scouting myriad locations — including the expansive Dubai Mall — Louboutin zeroed in on the Mall of the Emirates.

"I think the Dubai Mall is much too big and we tend to get lost. When you have a big store, it always looks empty … that is sad. It is like you are walking on a street and you see an empty restaurant. You will never feel like entering it. The same happens with a big store too. I want my store to be inviting in terms of its size and it should feel personal," says Louboutin.

Dubai is not his only destination. In the coming months, the French luxury footwear company will join hands with the local retailing conglomerate Chalhoub Group to open new stores in Riyadh and Beirut. In January they jointly opened an independent store in Jeddah. But the expansion drive may not end here. According to the General Manager of Christian Louboutin, Alexis Mourot, they are planning to open more Christian Louboutin boutiques in the Middle East region in a phased manner.

"Apart from opening these three stores in 2010 — Beirut in July, Dubai in October and Riyadh in November — we are planning to open six more in other parts of the Gulf region like Kuwait, Bahrain or Qatar. Of course, we are very selective about the process," says Mourot. Meanwhile, Patrick Chalhoub, Joint CEO of the Chalhoub group, is equally excited about the union.

"Our ambition is to grow Christian Louboutin's market share in the Middle East to 5 per cent of the brand's global sales volume over the next few years." Currently, Christian Louboutin sales in the Middle East account for less than 2 per cent of its global total, according to Mourot.