Dubai: Retail is Detail, a Singaporean family business based in Dubai, plans to open 10 to 15 confectionery stores under the brand name "Candylicious" in the Gulf in the next three to five years.

The company will invest up to $2 million (Dh7.34 million) in each store, Sunaina Gill, Director Operations and Marketing at Retail is Detail, told Gulf News on the sidelines of the opening of its first mega-store in Dubai Mall on Wednesday evening.

The store concept builds on the sale of well-established confectionery and candy brands from the US, Europe and Australia, which are presented within a store with a consistent brand design.

"We are selling a recession-proof product," Gill gives the reason for the move to invest and expand in the region in times of moderate consumer spending activity. "Candies are a feel-good item," Gill says.

"They are always in demand. Besides that, the price level of the products is "very competitive," she adds.

The company is seeking to tap this demand in the Gulf markets, based on detailed market research. "Our unique concept is filling a niche, and it's all about frequency."

The store was located exactly opposite the Dubai Mall indoor aquarium where millions of visitors will be passing by annually.

"There are so many nationalities here, and all recognise global brands."

The product range of Candylicious comprises of a wide range of items for many different tastes; for example chocolates with chilli or green tea flavour. Arabs, on the other hand, prefer creamier and extra milky chocolate, the market research has shown.

After opening its next store in Singapore, another shop in Dubai will follow. Then Candylicious will move on to Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Gill says.

As a retailer, Candylicious does not produce any confectionery by itself. All items are imported from established suppliers, and, for the time being, no local products can be found on the store shelves. But it is "possible" that Candylicious may look for a local supplier in future, Gill says.

She expects a return on investment at each shop "within a year". The first flagship store in the Dubai Mall - on 10,000 square feet, the largest of its kind in the world - employs 59 people.

Overall, the company is targeting annual sales from its confectionery business and associated merchandising of $10 million per year, which is around 10 per cent of the projected confectionery sales in the UAE this year. Worldwide, this business accounts for some $150 billion annually, according to market studies.

Retail is Detail LLC has developed Candylicious after launching several other retail brands in the region, such as the home store brand Index Living, women's footwear chain Stella Luna and home fashion store "iwannagohome".