Saudi Arabia’s Alhokair signs deal with France's Fnac Darty to tap into consumer electronics

The retailer will open the kingdom's first Fnac store in 2022

the logos of reatialers Fnac and Darty are pictured in Biganos, southwestern France, Tuesday, Aug.8, 2017. Artemis, the holding company of France's Pinault family, has sold its stake in French retailer Fnac-Darty to Germany's Ceconomy(AP Photo/Bob Edme)

Saudi Arabia’s listed retailer Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Group signed a franchise agreement with French retailer Fnac Darty to further expand its portfolio into consumer electronics and other categories.

As part of the deal, Alhokair will open the first Fnac Darty store in the kingdom in 2022, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

“This strategic partnership with … Fnac Darty is perfectly in line with our objective to diversify our brand portfolio and drive sustainable growth,” Marwan Moukarzel, chief executive of Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair, said.

“The European retailer’s strategic focus on building a strong customer base with evolving experiences around electronics, multimedia and lifestyle categories, is a major milestone in Alhokair’s journey to become the lifestyle retail partner of choice in Saudi Arabia.”

Fnac Darty has 908 international stores and 346 franchises. Last year, the company reported revenue of over $8.9 billion, with online sales accounting for 31 per cent of this.

The deal allows Alhokair to tap into the growing demand for consumer electronics in the kingdom – which is largely driven by increased levels of remote working and online learning amid the pandemic.

Alhokair, listed on the Tadawul Stock Exchange, operates more than 1,800 retail stores across 12 countries. Its portfolio comprises more than 90 international and local brands in fashion, beauty, sports, multimedia, and food and beverage.

“This deal is a great opportunity for our group, for our partner and for future customers,” Enrique Martinez, chief executive of Fnac Darty, said.

Last month, Alhokair and mall operator Arabian Centres Company announced plans to acquire a combined 51 per cent stake in Vogacloset, a UK-based e-commerce platform with 12 million users in the Middle East.

The buyers will initially acquire 41.2 per cent of the e-commerce platform’s existing shares based on a pre-money valuation of $60 million, subject to an earn-out structure conditional on certain growth thresholds, the two companies said on March 3.