Dubai: European cosmetics firm, Rituals, is planning to have up to a 100 stores in the Gulf region in the next five years or so, said its CEO Raymond Cloosterman.
“We will have a very substantial business here - a key to the success of course will be the introduction of the brand next year in the Saudi market,” said Cloosterman.
The company currently has 25 stores in the region, with 13 in the UAE alone. While the brand has been receiving strong reception in Kuwait, Dubai has been promising as well, said Cloosterman. “Dubai is picking up and it's growing year-by-year with double digit numbers”
Products like luxury candles, fragrance sticks, and room sprays have been doing particularly well in the UAE, said the company head. A strong preference for the indoor life has meant Rituals’ products have been selling out like hot cakes in the Gulf country.
Shower gels and body creams, which are Rituals’ bestselling items in Europe, are also big money-spinners in the UAE.
“This year, it will be a record year again - It could have been much better,” said Clooseterman, adding that if not for the impact of the pandemic, the business would have grown 20 per cent more.
Rituals, which opened 14 new stores worldwide during the crisis including the latest at The Dubai Mall, has responded to the pandemic by expanding its online services. “We had to reinvent our company this year - I think as a company we used it (the pandemic) to really strengthen the core of our business by reinventing ourselves, (and) making the company more digitally driven.”
“The digital component has been very important,” he added.
The company now has a robotized B2C (business to consumer) warehouse, which can meet 30,000 orders a day. Rituals also introduced a ‘Click & Collect’ service where customers can place an order and collect the items from the store within a matter of minutes.
To further bolster its online exposure in the Middle East, Rituals has been making its namesake website available in each country. Customers in Dubai could shop on Rituals.com as early as April this year - the company’s platform is expected to be launched in Kuwait next month.
Rituals has also signed up with companies like Amazon, Namshi and Boutiqaat to sell its products in UAE.
“In the Middle East, we are now getting more and more traction online – it is growing very quickly,” said Cloosterman.
Stores will stay
“We believe in stores, even in this time when everybody's talking about digital,” said Cloosterman. “For the next 10 years we believe you need stores as a way to escape from your computer and from your little office space - you want to experience the products in a real environment”
Apparel Group partnership
Rituals has partnered with Dubai-based Apparel Group to open stores and build an online presence in the Gulf region.
The companies are now planning 10 new store openings in 2021 along with an entry into Saudi Arabia - one of the fastest growing consumer markets in the Middle East.