Dubai: Dubai’s got two extremely popular “outlet” malls and now it is time for a stand-alone, multi-brand outlet store. Operated by the Concept Brands Group (CBG), the 20,000 square feet facility — named “Brands4u” — will open at Reef Mall in Deira by mid-August.
The intention is to offer apparel and fashion accessories, typically merchandise that are one or two seasons older and at steep discounted prices all year round. “We believe a central location in the city offering multiple value-for-money brands on an outlet concept can still be successful against online vendors and their aggressive promotions,” said Vijay Samyani, Managing Director of CBG. “All of the merchandise at the store will be bought by us, and this means there is no risk being absorbed on the part of the local license for the brands. All the risks from carrying such high stock levels will be on us.
“This is the proposition we are offering the brand licensees — sell all your off-season stocks through us and without them having to spend heavily on mounting the promotions. We are taking both the merchandise and associated costs off them.”
Initial investments are said to be in the range of Dh15 million, including Dh10 million spent on acquiring the merchandise. The choice of Reef Mall was strategic given its location to a Metro station and its high-density neighbourhoods. Weekend visitor traffic to the mall is estimated at 100,000 plus, according to Samyani. “It is believed that the mall itself will go through a complete repositioning, which makes it ideal for us to launch the outlet store concept there,” he added.
Each year, Dubai’s retail calendar sees a flood of sales promotions, either carried out by the retailer or by the mall itself. Of late, high-profile campaigns have been mounted within the city where discounts offered on select days have extended up to 90 per cent. (The government agency responsible for the retail sector has stipulated that these can only be held twice a year.)
Then there are those offered by all of the big online vendors, such as the “Black Friday” campaign.
“Even with so many sales and special offers being promoted, an all-year outlet store should be able to target a specific audience,” said Samyani. “By having the widest range of brands and goods available, we hope to make that audience a sizeable one.”
CBG has a track-record — both online and offline — in conducting events built around heavily discounted prices. It organises the Concept Big Brands Carnival for stock clearances. In a year, Dubai plays host to eight of these events, while Abu Dhabi and Sharjah do two apiece. Plans are on to launch in Kuwait and Oman.
According to Samyani, the sheer number of promotions in Dubai could mean he might have to drop the frequency of the Big Brands Carnival. But that’s a decision to be taken later, he added.