Dubai’s Landmark Group in $250m Saudi drive

Landmark Group, the UAE-based retail conglomerate, is planning to invest nearly US$250m in opening around 30 Oasis Centres in Saudi Arabia, a senior executive confirmed to Arabian Business.

“Since Saudi Arabia, which contributes over 45 percent of the group’s turnover, is a key market for Landmark Group concepts, we are working towards setting up more Oasis Centre malls in the kingdom,” said Neelesh Bhatnagar, director of the Oasis Centre in Dubai.

Landmark plans to open Oasis Centres in 30 Saudi cities. “Most of the major malls are at locations like Riyadh, Jeddah and Al Khobar, but we see a lot of potential in the retail markets at secondary locations of Saudi Arabia, which are virtually untapped. These will also be cities that truly appreciate quality shopping experience combined with true value for money,” he said.

Four centres will be opened within the next 12 months and the group plans to invest AED30m in each mall, bringing the total investment to around AED900m (US$245m).

“The Oasis Centre properties will be owned and developed by our Saudi partners. We intend to seek ten-year leases plus option on another ten. Such an expansion approach will result in bringing down our initial costs, as compared to developing the property from scratch,” Bhatnagar added.

The latest venture is part of Landmark’s expansion overseas. Earlier this summer it was reported the group is eying sales of US$1bn in India over the next two years, while Splash, Landmark’s mid-market fashion retailer is planning to enter a number of African markets via franchise agreements.

The business, which sells a mixture of Western and its own fashion brands, has signed deals to open outlets in Libya and Kenya, as well as Sri Lanka, Splash’s CEO Raza Beig told Arabian Business earlier this year.

“In the next 18 months we’ll be in about in another 15 or 16 cities,” he said, adding that the African continent will be the “first concentration”. The retailer’s only presence in Africa at the moment is in Egypt, where it has two outlets.

Beig added that Splash was also eyeing Far Eastern markets. “There’s also a lot of dialogue from the East, but we’ve not yet finalised it,” he said.

Landmark Group operates 900 stores across the Middle East, India, Turkey and Pakistan and employs more than 31,000 staff.

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