Al Futtaim Group is considering entry into Iran and expanding in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Asia as the Dubai-based conglomerate seeks to grow its retail offering in populous markets, a company official said.
“We are closely monitoring the developments and we might enter Iran,” said Paul Delaoutre, the president of retail at Al Futtaim. “It is a very large population, 80 million people, and they are already sophisticated in their approach to fashion and they are very keen on spending money on western brands.”
The Iranian retail market grew by 30 per cent in 2014 compared with a year earlier, according to data provider and research firm Euromonitor International. Sales are forecast to grow further because of the country’s young population and high disposable income.
Al Futtaim Group, which has franchises in the region for brands ranging from Ikea to clothing chain M&S, is present in 19 countries spanning Asia to Egypt.
The group has 1,000 retail stores, one third of them in Asia and the remainder in the Middle East.