Marka, the UAE retail group listed on the Dubai Financial Market, has tied up with Real Madrid to tap into the club’s huge regional fan base.
In a five-year deal, the UAE retailer has licensed the Spanish football giants’ clothing across the GCC and will sell “street fashion” clothing with its brand.
“Real Madrid is one of the biggest sports brands in the world,” said Khaled Al Mheiri, vice chairman and chief executive of Marka. He said his company has 25 fashion products ready and has employed 10 designers, all under 25, to create designs that appeal to younger people.
“We have moved into licensing and you will see some important tie-ups being announced over the next three weeks. The Real Madrid brand is a huge draw and also ties in with Emirates as well.
“The softness in the economy has affected us, but I believe we are now at the bottom of the cycle, as the oil price has doubled over the past year, and 2017 will see Marka reach profit. We believe this Real Madrid tie-up will drive Dh200 million of revenues over the five years.”
The launch comes as the retail sector is hit hard by weakening consumer demand as the low oil price and strong dollar keeps shoppers away.
Retailers across the region are also battling against increasing competition from e-commerce.
The new clothing manufactured for Marka will be quality controlled and authorised by Real Madrid but will not be available at Real Madrid’s megastore in its home stadium the Santiago Bernabeu.
The products will initially be sold in Marka’s retail outlets such as Modell’s Sporting Goods, however the company has plans to distribute the products to other retailers.
Marka declined to disclose the price of the investment for the licensing deal. The retail group listed its shares in 2014 to tap investor demand in the then booming retail sector, which was not well represented on regional stock exchanges.
The company aimed to make a profit by 2016 but has struggled to break even.
Marka announced the opening of the first Middle East location of Italian coffee brand Ca’puccino at the Outlet Village in Dubai’s Jebel Ali on Monday with two more to launch in early 2017.
Marka’s chief executive Nick Peel resigned in December.
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