Dubai: Shoe Mart, a Dubai-based footwear retailer, plans to roll out 20 stores across the Gulf in the next two years, to take advantage of growing retail developments in the region, according to its chief executive, Manu Jeswani.
“There are a lot of new developments taking place; the population is growing. Qatar has new malls coming up … Qatar’s population and economy are growing. In Saudi Arabia, the population and demand are growing,” he said in a recent interview.
The mid-market retailer expects to open in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE, with an investment of Dh50 million in the next two to three years. Five of the 20 stores will open in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Ajman. The Dubai store will be located near Dubai Sports City (opening in 2015), while the Abu Dhabi outlets will be on Passport Road and Reem Island (opening in 2015 and 2016 respectively), and the Ajman store will be along the corniche.
The investment will also cover four stores in Iraq (in Arbil, Sulaymaniyah and Dohuk), which are scheduled to open within the coming two years. The retailer sees demand for more retail outlets in northern Iraq, where consumer spending is “good”, Jeswani said.
Shoe Mart, which is part of Dubai-based retail and hospitality conglomerate Landmark Group, has 145 stores in the Middle East and North Africa, and manages stand-alone stores for brands like Steve Madden and Nose.
The company is reaping the benefits of a growing mid-market retail segment in Dubai. However, sales growth of its five luxury brands are “struggling” since the luxury market started slowing down last quarter, Jeswani said.
He expects the company’s revenue to grow by 12-14 per cent in 2015 from the previous year.
Besides opening new stores, the company is looking to add two footwear and accessories brands from Poland and Brazil in the next few months.