Ajman opening marks 113th Centrepoint store for Landmark

The Ajman opening is to be followed by 12 more across the GCC states by the end of June.

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Landmark Group opens its 113th Centrepoint outlet on Thursday as the retailer plans to expand its presence outside the UAE.

The new two-level stand-alone store on Ajman’s Corniche, is its second location in the emirate, with the first at Ajman City Centre.

Dubai-based Landmark boasts of 15 to 20 per cent annual growth for Centrepoint, both in sales and number of shops, since the unit’s launch a decade ago.

The Ajman opening is to be followed by 12 more across the GCC states by the end of June, primarily in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Overall, Centrepoint aims to reach 130 outlets by year’s end as part of a Dh2 billion expansion.

“We believe the retail atmosphere still has momentum, although the UAE is more mature than most markets in the region,” said Simon Cooper, the head of Centrepoint. “We feel there are markets we have still to explore such as Iraq and Libya and we are looking at expanding further into Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. We have seen 15 to 20 per cent growth in store openings every year since we opened, and I can’t see that changing in the short term.”

About half of the Centrepoint outlets are stand-alone stores, as opposed to being located in malls. Stand-alones can have a bigger retail area, with Centrepoint shops averaging 50,000 square feet, and also have easier parking.

Ajman is suited to stand-alones, a Dubai-based analyst said.

“Ajman’s poorly developed shopping malls system means many stores are set as stand-alone there,” noted Fatemah Sherif, a senior research analyst at Euromonitor International.

“Furthermore, the Corniche is seen as a great hangout and source of entertainment for families in Ajman. With the high rents in the country, there is a growing number of consumers who seek to save a little and spend on value brands, and that’s where Landmark Group fall in quite well. The competitive advantage of Centrepoint is its high inventory turnover, that is constantly stimulated by promotions and sales.”

Centrepoint houses four brands in its portfolio – Babyshop, Splash, Shoemart and Lifestyle – with Babyshop and Splash driving the greatest revenues for the group. As Landmark is an owner-operator rather than a franchiser, it can keep margins at a minimum and logistics at their tightest.

“We don’t run a franchise, therefore we know exactly what we need to sell and exactly who we are trying to sell it to – unlike Debenhams or British Home Stores,” Mr Cooper said. “We don’t have to edit the supply chain to fit the region, we are a regional retailer who knows the territory and our customers. Our loyalty scheme, Shukran, provides detailed information of what, where and when people are buying, which keeps our sales and supply levels keen.”


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