Middle East Franchise Review 2013 - page 7

Howhas franchising transformed theway
M&Splans togrowwithin theMiddleEast?
The franchisemodel is attractive forus as it lets
usworkwith strongpartners,with strong local
knowledgeandallowsus toquicklyaccelerateour
growth–ensuringweare in thebest shopping
locationswith the right product offer forour
customers. It’s alsocapital light, low riskand
providesuswith immediate returns.Wehave
awell establishedpresence in theGulf and
Saudi however continue toexplorenew retail
opportunities in linewith thedevelopment
of shoppingmalls in the region.
Over the last yearwe’vecontinued tobuildeven
strongerpartnershipswithour existing franchise
partners in theMiddleEast,whoarecentral to
ourplans tobecomea leading international
retailer and reduceourdependencyon theUK
economiccycle.Our franchiseoperations across
key territories in theMiddleEast performed
well during last year,with salesup9%.Wewere
alsoable togrowourpresenceacross theMiddle
Eastwithour long standing franchisepartners
last year,weopened19new stores across
11 territories in the region, includingnew
markets suchasLebanonand Jordan.
What typeof franchisepartnerhsipshas
M&Sestablished in theMiddleEast?
TheMiddleEast regioncovering theGulf,Saudi
ArabiaandLevant is100% franchised through
only two franchisepartners:AlFuttaimGroupand
AlHokairRetailGroup.Wechose tooperatewith
well establishedandexperiencedpartnerswho
possess strong local knowledgeand shareour
vision forgrowth.Ourpartnersoperateanumber
ofother retail brands, aswell asmanaginga
portfolioof retail estateprojects,whichgives
usconfidence in theirability todeliver standards
and results in linewithmutuallyagreedplans.
HowhasM&Sadapted itsbranding,
marketingproduct rangeandoperating
procedures tosuit theMiddleEastmarket?
We’recommitted toofferingour local customers
the same shoppingexperience theywould find in
othermarkets: exceptional qualityproducts across
fashionand food.To support ourbusiness in the
MiddleEast,weworkcloselywithour franchise
partners to implement ourmarketing strategy,
which is in linewithour internationalmarkets.
Most recently this included the launchof our
Britain’sLeadingLadies campaign inDubai –
bringing together agroupof inspiringwomen
and iconic locations, shot byacclaimed fashion
photographerAnnieLeibovitz, to reassertM&S’
leadingqualityand stylecredentials.
Wealsohavea special focuson local events
suchasRamadanandEid including special
promotions and in-storedécor andwindow
displays.Our vast fashioncatalogueprovides
uswith the flexibility to tailorourproducts for
theMiddleEast consumer tooffer awidebreadth
of sizes, colouroptions andmoreconservative
lengths.Our aim is always tooffer the latest
fashioncatalogue inall internationalmarkets.
n forGrowth
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