Poland’s ‘king of shoes’ plans 100 GCC stores

CCC is one of the largest footwear retailers in Europe



Polish footwear retailer CCC Shoes & Bags is planning to open 100 stores across the Gulf Cooperation Council over the next 10 years, its billionaire chairman and president has said.

Dariusz Milek, who is sometimes dubbed Poland’s ‘king of shoes’ for his leadership of the country’s largest retail company, told Gulf Business the firm was planning to fill a regional gap for mass-market footwear.

To achieve this it has signed a 10-year franchise deal with UAE-based conglomerate Apparel Group for an initial 60 stores with a total area of 40,000 square metres.

However, Poland’s fourth richest man, who Forbes says has a net worth of $1.61bn following a rally in the company’s share price last year, believes the region’s population has the potential to sustain 200-400 of the firm’s outlets in the longer term.

The first openings are expected to take place in the Spring of 2019 and CCC ideally wants to launch in all six GCC markets – Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain – simultaneously, he explained.

The company’s price point means it will not necessarily target the region’s most luxurious malls and outlets are expected in many mid-market locations.

CCC will also sell products online through Apparel’s e-commerce business.

To coincide with these first openings, the company will unveil a spring collection with some region-specific items based on demographic sensitivities in the Middle East.

Milek who describes CCC’s approach to the market as “more H&M than Zara” said the firm grew 30 per cent in terms of stores last year and is expecting even more significant growth in 2018.

CCC now has close to 1,000 stores across its Central and Eastern Europe footprint, the significant majority of which the company owns itself.

It has also expanded into Romania, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia via franchises.