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Turkish retailers eye UAE

Dubai: Turkish brands are looking to expand in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, with the UAE and Saudi Arabia on top of their priority list, according to Cem Eric, general manager of Kanyon Real Estate Management Co. and board member of the Turkish Council of Shopping Centers.

Eric was speaking at RECon 2013, a retail conference which runs until Tuesday, in Dubai.

He said that brands across different retail segments, including fashion, jewellery, home decoration, and textile, view the region as an avenue for further growth. Most of the entrants in the market are mid-market brands, he said.

“By 2023, Turkish brands plan to have over 4,000 stores in the Middle East and North Africa region,” Eric said.

“There are strong local brands in Turkey that are competing with international brands. If they can do it in Turkey, they can do it anywhere else in the world. They prefer to go to markets where retail is less developed, like Egypt, Iran, Iraq and Lebanon. In order to be successful in the region, you have to show yourself in developed retail markets where there are a lot of international brands. That’s why they go to Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar,” he said.

The region is attractive to Turkish retailers due to the good retail companies and logistics.

Turkish fashion brand Koton, which already has a strong presence in the region, with 28 stores in Saudi Arabia and 12 in the UAE, plans to open 140 stores in Mena by 2017, according to Eric.

Also, LCW, an apparel retailer, which has over 20 stores in Mena, expects to have 1,000 stores outside of Turkey by 2023, one-third of which will be in Mena. It plans to have stores open in the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain next year.

Meanwhile, food and beverage retailer Simit Sarayi expects to have 100 new outlets in Mena in the next five years, including the UAE, Qatar, Iraq and Iran.

Similarly, Pasabahce, a glassware and accessories retailer, plans to have its first stores in the region in 2014, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

The retail scene in Turkey is growing, too. According to the Turkish Council for Shopping Centres, there are 320 shopping centres in Turkey, with a gross leasable area (GLA) of 9 million sq. metre.

It is expected that retail supply will grow up to 50 per cent in the next five years in Turkey.

“The number of Turkish brands will increase significantly, from 550 stores up to 4,000 stores in Mena in 10 years,” Eric said.

According to David Macadam, CEO and vice chairman of the Middle east Council for Shopping Centres, most of the brands coming into the market are from Western Europe and North America. He expects that in the coming years “Dubai will have more brands than any other city in the world”.