• Marka named exclusive franchise operator for five internationally celebrated fashion brands
• Ambitious growth plans for the brands include pan-GCC expansion; first stores to open by early 2015 with more than 35 stores by 2020
Marka PJSC (“Marka”), the first public joint stock company focused on the fast-growing retail sector in the UAE with a capital of AED 500 million, today announced that it has been named the exclusive franchise operator for top international women’s fashion brands, Sonia by Sonia Rykiel, Laurél, Weill, Berenice and Essentiel Antwerp.
The franchising of the five leading European fashion labels from France, Germany and Belgium, represents Marka’s first push into the women’s segment and is a bold initial move that is a clear indication of the company’s ambition to play a leading role in transforming the GCC retail landscape into one that is recognized as a dynamic global hub.
The news comes hot on the heels of the announcement that Marka had scored a spectacular goal by securing the rights as exclusive franchise operator in the GCC for CR7 – soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo’s exclusive footwear collection
Jamal Al Hai, Chairman of the Marka Board of Directors, said: “We have secured key international brands that support our vision of becoming the premier retail operator in the UAE and across the region and generating long term value for our shareholders.
“Each brand we partner with is carefully selected, so we are confident they will resonate with the refined tastes of modern women in this region. These brands are truly distinctive and will stand out and capture attention of the discerning GCC shopper.”
Chief Executive Officer Nick Peel added: “Marka went through a careful selection process and partnered with these labels due to their regional appeal and leading position in the fashion forward retail space. For example, amongst Weill’s 48 monobrand stores and more than 870 sales outlets throughout the world, the best performing Weill store worldwide is located in Kuwait, so we are confident it will be a success in the wider region.
“We are delighted to debut these exciting brands first to the UAE for the first time, and soon to our customers across the wider GCC.”
Marka plans to introduce many more international brands to the region, not only in the women’s fashion segment, but also in the menswear and children’s wear categories.
Sonia by Sonia Rykiel has a Parisian feel and is popular with celebrities including Michelle Obama and Cheryl Cole, while Weill can trace its heritage back to when it was the oldest French Fashion house, established in 1892 by Albert Weill in the heart of Paris. The third French label, Berenice, offers an edgy but still luxurious style. It is ethnic bohemian with a chic touch.
Belgium’s Essentiel Antwerp is known for refreshing, offbeat and luxurious fashion and its graphic or floral prints coupled with trendy mixes of colors. Laurél is an internationally renowned affordable luxury brand founded in Germany.
Mr. Peel concluded: “We have now started rolling out our strategic partnerships with globally renowned brands and we will continue to pursue this growth strategy with a balanced combination of acquisitions, franchise agreements with leading retail brands and creating unique retail concepts with global partners that will generate long-term value for our shareholders.”
Since incorporating in June 2014, Marka has been partnering with leading global brands and will continue to make a number of announcements during the coming weeks.
The company will commence trading on the DFM on 25 September under the trading symbol “MARKA”.
More about the brands:
Sonia by Sonia Rykiel. is a Parisian fashion-forward contemporary concept. The collection offers a modern and trend focused interpretation of the iconic Sonia Rykiel universe, dressing women with an irreverent Parisian touch from head to toe and from day to night. Sonia by Sonia Rykiel and Marka plan to open eight stores in the Middle East region over the course of the next 5 years, outside of Saudi Arabia. The first store will open in Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi in early 2015.
Laurél is an internationally renowned affordable luxury brand founded in Germany in 1978. Laurel’s focus on feminine outfits, top-class production and long-standing experience are the keys to its worldwide success. Its first store will be located in Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi, with a total of six stores opening in five years across the GCC.
Weill is the oldest French Fashion house established in 1892 by Albert Weill in the heart of Paris. Today, Weill is well known for its female suits, tweed, and printed silks. Its range includes wardrobe essentials for everyday use (work, evening) with very feminine twists. Amongst Weill’s 48 monobrand stores and more than 870 sales outlets throughout the world, the best performing Weill store worldwide is located at The Avenues 3 in Kuwait City, Kuwait. Marka will open nine stores across the GCC, outside of Kuwait, with the first store opening in Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi in early 2015.
Berenice offers an edgy and strong, yet still luxurious style. It is ethnic bohemian with a chic touch. Founded in 2004 by Frederic Krief who was later joined by his wife as Artistic Director. The brand’s iconic angel wings have become the symbol of Berenice. It has 54 flagship monobrand stores – 10 outsides of France and one in London. It also has presence in luxury department stores Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, amongst others. Marka will open Berenice in seven locations across the GCC, outside of Saudi Arabia, in eight years. The first store location will be announced soon.
Essentiel Antwerp stands for refreshing, offbeat and luxurious fashion. The brand is renowned for its graphic or floral prints and trendy mixes of colors. Both the men and women collections are rich, unique and accessible. Following an unexpected triumph at the Who’s Next fair in Paris, Essentiel opened boutiques in Knokke, Brussels, Antwerp, Leuven, Hasselt and Bruges. Marka will open the first store at Meraas’ The Beach development in early 2015, with a planned total of five locations in the UAE before expanding across the GCC.
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