Billabong to open five stores in the GCC by 2015 [Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)]
(Gulf News (United Arab Emirates) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Dubai: Billabong International is expanding in the GCC after recording huge losses internationally. The Australian surfwear retailer suffered a net loss of A$859.5 million in the six months ending June 2013, which is triple its market value of about A$240 million and higher than last year's loss of A$275.6 million.
But in the UAE and the rest of the GCC, "Billabong is doing very well," says Samantha Warrayat, marketing manager at Royal Sporting House, the brand's UAE franchise partner.
Sales in the UAE are up "13 per cent" over last year, Warrayat said, adding that it is expected to grow by "7 per cent" next year.
The retailer plans to open five stores in the GCC by 2015.
It has five standalone stores and seven stores within stores in the UAE, and hopes to open two more stores by next year. So far, one is confirmed, which will be at Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi. It also plans to open three stores in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Aside from Yas Mall, some of the GCC locations it is looking at include: "Burjuman, Mall of Arabia, Al Salam Mall, Al Othaim Mall , Granada Centre, and Doha Festival City," Warrayat said.
Meanwhile, internationally, the retailer closed 158 stores, after which annual sales dropped 13.5 per cent to A$1.34 billion.
Colin Beaton, managing director of Limelight Creative Services, said that the expansion move can help the business grow.
"They need to grow the business and increase revenue, and the Middle East has a lot of growth in retail — the industry is growing at a significant pace," said Beaton.
He also said that when large numbers of tourists come to the UAE and build a connection with the brand, they are "likely to go to it in their countries."
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