Customers shop at Paris Gallery store in Dubai Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Dubai-based Paris Gallery plans to open seven stores in the region this year and is considering openings in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, according to the company’s top official.

The retailer, which sells perfumes, cosmetics, watches and leather goods, expects to open one store each in Abu Dhabi (in Bawabat Al Sharq )and Al Ain towards the end of 2014, Mohammad Al Fahim, CEO of Paris Gallery, told Gulf News in a phone interview.

It is also set to open two stores in Muscat (by the fourth quarter) and one each in Tripoli in Libya, Baghdad in Iraq and Baku in Azerbaijan. Additionally, it is looking to open four stores in Saudi Arabia and one in Qatar.

Iraq is a market that has the most potential within the region, according to Al Fahim. By 2016, it expects to open five stores there through a franchise agreement with Al Handal International Group. These include one in Basra, two in Erbil and two in Baghdad, according to Al Fahim.

Paris Gallery has more than 80 stores in the region, including 26 in the UAE, 14 in Saudi Arabia and three in Qatar. The retailer expects to open between 10 and 12 stores in the region over the next five years, alongside those that are set to open in the UAE, Oman, Iraq, Libya and Azerbaijan, Al Fahim said.

On why the company delayed the opening of stores in Baghdad and Baku, which were scheduled to open in 2013, he said it was because of “regulations, logistics and support areas.”

 

Negotiations

According to him, the company is “still pursuing some negotiations [in India],” while plans to open stores in Egypt are “on hold until the circumstances there change.”

Al Fahim added that the company has “an ambition” to expand into international markets, such as Europe, but it has no plans currently to do so since its priority is to expand in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, Paris Gallery is looking at “renovations and relocations in Dubai and Sharjah” this year, Al Fahim said. It recently renovated and expanded the size of its store in Sharjah’s Sahara Centre and relocated its store in Al Ghurair Centre to the mall’s new extension.

IPO

Paris Gallery is still planning an initial public offering (IPO), which was announced in 2012, but it will not happen in the short-term, according to Al Fahim.

“The timing to launch an IPO is not fit yet but the objective is there,” he said.

He added that the company is not planning to raise more finance through bonds. The company’s profit grew by “nine per cent” in 2013 compared to 2012, Al Fahim said. He, however, did not divulge profit forecast for 2014.