UK. Burberry Group, the global luxury goods company, has announced the formation of a joint venture covering parts of the Middle East with its long-standing franchisee, The Jashanmal Group.

Under the deal, a new Dubai-based company, Burberry Middle East, will manage all Burberry retail and wholesale distribution in the UAE markets, including Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait, under a 15-year agreement.

In a statement, Burberry said the joint venture would enable Burberry and Jashanmal to capitalise more quickly on opportunities in parts of the Middle East while increasing investment in this proven region. Year-to-date comparable store sales in these countries have increased by over +40%, it said, demonstrating the growth potential of the market.

The first Burberry store in the Middle East opened in 1997 in Dubai under a franchise agreement with Jashanmal. There are eight stores in the joint venture, with a further four planned for the current financial year. Of these, two will be dedicated childrenswear stores, a product category which is a key growth area for Burberry, the UK fashion house said.

Burberry Middle East has recently opened its largest store in The Dubai Mall, carrying both Burberry Prorsum and Burberry London Collection ready-to-wear and accessories. It is the first time that Burberry Prorsum menswear has been available in the Middle East.

Commenting on the joint venture deal, Burberry Chief Executive Officer Angela Ahrendts said: “Jashanmal has been a wonderful trusted partner in the Middle East and has built a very successful Burberry business for over 10 years. We are excited by this new joint venture with them, giving us the opportunity for an even stronger collaboration in this high growth, under-penetrated market. Jashanmal has proven expertise having operated significant retail, wholesale and distribution businesses in the Middle East for many years.”

Jashanmal Group President Gangu Batra said: “Burberry is an iconic brand with a unique heritage in the luxury sector. We have worked very well together in the past and are delighted to develop our partnership further through this important joint venture. Burberry is one of the best known and most popular brands in the region and we see significant opportunities ahead.”

About Burberry Middle East

Burberry Middle East is incorporated in the UAE and its trading licence was issued on 28 August 2008. A majority of the directors of the company have been appointed by Burberry. Gross assets of the retail and wholesale operations of Burberry Middle East are £7 million. Burberry Middle East stores are located in Dubai (Burjuman, City Centre Mall, Mall of the Emirates, The Dubai Mall); Kuwait (Arraya Center, Marina Mall); Abu Dhabi (Marina Mall) and Qatar (Villagio Mall).

About Burberry

Burberry, a global luxury brand with a British heritage, was founded in 1856 and is listed on the London Stock Exchange. Burberry’s apparel and accessories sell through a diversified network of retail, wholesale and licensing channels worldwide. The London-based company has five strategic themes to underpin its growth: leverage the franchise; intensify non-apparel development; accelerate retail-led growth; invest in under-penetrated markets; and pursue operational excellence. At 30 September 2008, Burberry had 102 retail stores globally, with 250 concessions, 44 outlets and 84 stores operated under franchise.

About Jashanmal National

Jashanmal opened its first store in 1919 and has built operations in Kuwait, Bahrain, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Its retail division operates a chain of seven department stores and various international franchises. In 1964, Jashanmal’s wholesale division was created to manage the distribution of a number of major international brands to 2,500 retailers in the UAE, 500 in Kuwait and over 100 retailers in Bahrain. Jashanmal has experience across luxury and premium fashion, fragrances and cosmetics brands, as well as a range of consumer goods in the Middle East.

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