UK WHSmith plans new Doha airport outlets

UK retail giant WHSmith is set to open eight shops at the delayed New Doha International Airport (NDIA), officials have said.

According to the Moodie Report, the British retailer will take a total of 8,000 sq ft of space at the new airport which was supposed to have opened last month but is facing delays of up to a year.

Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways CEO, told the website: “We are thrilled to have yet another high-calibre international retailer on board which shares our vision to be one of the world’s greatest airports.”

WHSmith chief executive Kate Swann added: “The opening of eight new WHSmith stores in this exclusive airport development further demonstrates our commitment to be the leading travel retailer across the Middle East.”

Last year, Qatar’s Al Meera Holding said it had entered into a franchise agreement with WHSmith Travel Ltd to operate book shops in the Gulf state.

Under the agreement, Al Meera Holding has been granted the exclusive rights to establish and operate bookstores under the WHSmith brand in Qatar.

With more than 1,100 stores both in the UK and across the world, including locations in UAE, Oman, Kuwait and stores to come in Saudi Arabia and Jordan, WHSmith is present at airports around the world.

The New Doha International Airport will have a total of more than 40,000 sq m of space devoted to retail facilities, passenger lounges, and multi-storey short-term and long-term parking.

Last week, Qatar Airways announced it was launching a $600m legal action against contractor Lindner Depa International (LDI) for “badly defaulting” on a $250m fit-out contract at the airport but the joint venture hit back, accusing the carrier of making “false and misleading” comments.

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