Giordano to invest USD5m in 20 new stores in the region by 2013

Dubai Giordano International will open a Dh5 million logistics centre in the Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) in January to service a growing number of stores in the GCC, Middle East and Africa, the company chairman and chief executive, Dr. Peter Lau, told Gulf News.

The apparel retailer is also investing $5 million in opening and maintaining 20 new stores in the region by the end of 2013 including Saudi, Qatar, Pakistan, Srilanka and South Africa, said Ishwar Chugani, managing director of Giordano Middle East. They plan to open a total of 300 stores in the region and India by 2015.

About 10 to 15 percent of the Hong Kong-based company’s global revenue comes from the operations of Giordano Middle East in 23 countries, Lau said during a visit to the UAE yesterday. He expects revenue to at least double over the next three or four years from the Middle East, Eastern Europe and African markets.

The 15,000 square foot service centre, Giordano Middle East Free Zone Establishment, will provide support, logistics, and management to Giordano’s franchise stores in the region.
In the next three years, the centre is expected to house $5 million to $10 million worth of merchandise as the company focuses on Africa and Eastern Europeans markets, Lau said.

“We will be a bit more aggressive in terms of developing our franchises there,” Chugani said, adding they are in franchise discussions with companies in southern, east and west Africa.
“Our vision is to make Dubai a command centre for our international business, it’s going to be the brain… the directives will come from the logistics centre,” he said, adding that Dubai has the advantage of a concentrated managerial talent pool of multicultural background. “This is an advantage that will help Giordano to expand globally.”

The company is also looking to open an online store in Saudi Arabia, its biggest market regionally, to serve second-tier cities where they currently have no presence, Chugani said.

Giordano is also open to tie-ups with other multi-brand online retail channels, Chugani added.

Asked about ways to improve customer service, a major hassle for UAE residents when shopping in general, Lau said: “The days of smiles is over. The customer is looking for information… in the past there was a focus on etiquette, the next stage will be knowledge-based customer service.”

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