Landmark expanding despite retail slump

The Landmark Group is launching a US$150 million (Dh550.9m) expansion across the Middle East over the next three years.

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DUBAI // Landmark Group, one of the largest retailers in the region, is launching a US$150 million (Dh550.9m) expansion across the Middle East over the next three years, starting with 150 new shops this year alone. The push comes as Landmark has boomed in what has been a tough year for much of the retail sector. It forecasts that its turnover will rise 25 per cent to about $3.2 billion for its financial year that ends in June, said Vipen Sethi, the chief executive. Profit is also expected to rise by 25 per cent, he added.

Overall, retail sales in the UAE fell steeply last year as consumer confidence was shaken and shoppers became more budget-conscious. But Mr Sethi said that trend helped Landmark's mid-market brands, such as its Max clothing chain and Home Centre shops. "In the mid-market segment people haven't held back," he said. "Anyone who has got jobs, they're still spending as much. Maybe the upper end has been affected a little bit."

The group continued to expand over the past 12 months with the launching of its Iconic fashion stores and its Beautybay cosmetics shops. Landmark, which is based in Dubai, opened 25 stores this month at the new Mirdif City Centre in Dubai, comprising 15 per cent of the retail space at the shopping centre, said Mr Sethi. The company also plans a $400m expansion in India, he said. Landmark, which has 940 stores across the region, will focus on rolling out more stores under its Centrepoint mini-mall concept as well as for its Max and Home Centre chains.

Geographically, Mr Sethi said it would open more stores in Egypt and make its entry into Lebanon, Libya and Syria. It is also considering expanding into Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Kurdistan. Landmark is also branching out into the hospitality sector, with its first CityMax hotel due to open in Dubai next month.