Lals plans to open 10 Homes R Us stores in Saudi Arabia

Lals Group, the Dubai-based retailer that owns Lamcy Plaza, plans to open 10 Homes R Us Stores in Saudi Arabia as part of a major push into the kingdom.

The group has been in discussions with Saudi and Qatari partners to bring its home furniture brand to the country as UAE retailers face increasing competition domestically.

“Saudi with its 27 million plus population and the bulk of it in the middle market is ripe for us,” said the Lals’ chief executive, Jayant Ganwani. “We have seen a huge spurt in demand in Saudi Arabia in the last three months. It is one market that seems to be breaking away from the rest of the train in the GCC.”

Initial openings are likely to be Riyadh and Dammam, said Mr Ganwani in an interview at the company’s Jebel Ali head office.

A boom in mall construction has added millions of square feet in retail space across the UAE. But faltering consumer confidence, currency weakness in Russia and the euro zone as well as regional political tension has hit spending.

Lals operates about 2.5 million sq ft of retail space across the region with 30 outlets covering brands such as Daiso, Carter’s and Style Studio.

The regional retail industry is expected to be worth US$284.5 billion by 2018 with supermarket and hypermarket sales to top $59.3bn over the same period, according to Alpen Capital.

The rapid growth of the aviation sector has also been a big driver for retail industry expansion with airport-based duty free sales expected to increase to $6.6bn in 2018 from $3.9bn in 2013.

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