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A.S. Watson (Hong Kong) Agrees Franchise Deal to Enter the Middle East

09 Sep 2020 - Health & beauty giant A.S. Watson is expanding its flagship Watsons brand into the Middle East via franchise agreement with Al-Futtaim, the Dubai-based conglomerate that already works with global retailers such as M&S and Ikea.

It is the first time A.S. Watson has signed a franchise agreement with the deal also marking its first venture in the Middle East. The group operates around 16,000 stores across Asia and Europe under brands such as Watsons, Rossmann, Kruidvat, Savers, and Superdrug.

A.S. Watson will work Al-Futtaim to open 100 stores in the Middle East region by the end of 2025, with the first Watsons outlet set to debut in the Dubai Mall on 1 October. Entry into Saudi Arabia is planned for 2021.

There will also be an e-commerce store (, a mobile app called Watsons UAE, and a Watsons loyalty programme.

Dominic Lai, A.S. Watson Group Managing Director said: “We are delighted to bring Watsons to the beauty-savvy customers in the Middle East which is one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for beauty products.

“Al-Futtaim has impressed us with their proven experience and track record in quality management of retail brands. We are excited to partner with them to bring new offline and online beauty experience as well as numerous trendy brands to customers in the region.”

Omar Al Futtaim, Vice Chairman at Al-Futtaim added: “Our partnership with A.S. Watson Group is another milestone in our journey to further enhance both the UAE and the Middle East’s position in the world’s top retail destinations map, and we look forward to making this brand available across further locations in the region.”