Lakeland is set to make its first foray overseas with a new store in Dubai.
The 5,000sq ft shop will open at the beginning of April as part of the second phase of Dubai’s Mirdif shopping centre.
Lakeland’s estates director Julian Rayner told HousewaresLive.net that, in common with many other UK retailers entering the Middle East, the company had gone into the venture with a local partner, Jawad.
“They’re very big in groceries there and they also represent The White Company,” he said. “And the wife of the owner is an English lady who’s been a good customer of Lakeland.”
He said that Jawad also had the right to take Lakeland into Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, but a rollout would depend on how the concept went down in Dubai.
“It’s a very different market in that a lot of people over there will have a cook so they don’t get involved in the cooking process, so there’s a higher emphasis on high-end crockery and cutlery,” Rayner said. “To a certain extent we’re depending on Europeans living there and how the local people react.”
He said that the product offer would largely be the same as in the UK, though admitted: “We’re probably not going to sell many chestnut roasting pans in Dubai!”
Rayner said the company was not concerned to launch into Dubai at a time when it has hit economic problems “because it’s still a market that’s very interesting and still a very busy, very vibrant place”.
Meanwhile, Lakeland’s main focus on expansion remains in the UK. Last year the company opened in Reading, Beverley and Durham, and is due to launch in Witney in two months’ time and Belfast in April.