Appliance maker Miele targets premium Gulf projects to fit out

The German home appliance manufacturer Miele is targeting prestige-building projects in the GCC, especially in Saudi Arabia, to boost its regional footprint.
The German home appliance manufacturer Miele is targeting prestige-building projects in the GCC, especially in Saudi Arabia, to boost its regional footprint.

The company, which has a show gallery in Dubai, is looking to use the emirate as a hub to reach out to more countries in the region to drive sales.

"We have a lot of work to do [in the Middle East] to get people to understand Miele. We are a premium brand so we won't start with mass distribution," said Athmane Lakhlifi, the head of international sales and retail at Miele. "We have to create traffic to the store."

Miele offers demonstrations of its products, cookery and training courses as well as catering at the galley to help drive awareness. With extra traffic, the company is hoping to grow by at least 30 per cent over the next few years. It is also working with kitchen manufacturers and interior designers, partnering with them to reach out to potential customers and to promote the brand.

Miele's product range varies from dishwashers to coffee machines. Commercially, it expects the white goods market to grow the most. All 900 apartments in Burj Khalifa are equipped with Miele's kitchen appliances, as well as the Armani Hotel.

It is projects like these that Miele is targeting in Saudi Arabia.

"The boom we had in Dubai back in 2005 will never come back, but Saudi Arabia is seeing this [construction] boom, so that is our focus at the moment. They are building impressive, iconic buildings," said Mr Lakhlifi.

Miele is a family-owned company founded in 1899. Today it is run by the fourth generation of the Miele family. It is also present in Lebanon and Jordan and until earlier this year in Iran. Affected by the Iranian embargo on European goods, the company has lost its ?14 million (Dh66.1m) business in the country.The conflict in Syria is also making Miele nervous.

"We have good business in Lebanon and Jordan. Iran was our biggest market in the region until the embargo. We cannot talk about the region without mentioning the instability. It is one of the factors that will affect our growth," said Mr Lakhlifi.

thamid@thenational.ae

Published: September 12, 2013 04:00 AM

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