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Behind the curtain of luxury retail

Behind the curtain of luxury retail

Gulf Business speaks to OBS Lifestyle chief executive officer Andy Moss

The Gulf Cooperation Council is considered a hub for luxury retail. What are the main driving forces behind the growth of the industry?

“Choice. We are very fortunate to be the location of choice in the region for luxury brands. The market is very strong here as a travel destination for a lot of key nationalities who appreciate this segment as well as the local consumer who is very discerning. We have a number of products specifically designed for the consumer here and brands generally are very focused on their preferences and needs.”

With oil prices down, regional economies have slowed. How badly has luxury retail been hit?

“I think we will see some rebalancing in the market due to these factors, but what is always surprising is the resilience of the Gulf. The very wealthy may be worth 25 per cent less today but are still very wealthy and still appreciate the very best that is available.”

The industry has attracted several local and global players. Is there too much competition?

“Dubai is one of the most amazing shopping destinations in the world and most of the world’s top brands are present here along with some incredible locally developed concepts. Differentiation is important and consumers want to see innovation as well as newness in the market. Competition is strong but I see that as healthy and positive.”

Within luxury retail, which are the segments where you see the strongest growth?

“The biggest trend we are focused on right now is the growth of fine fragrances, specifically haute perfumery, commonly known as niche. Customers are discerning and they want more from a fragrance than has been delivered for so long by the big brands.”

Has technology had a major impact on the industry?
“Yes, e-commerce has impacted consumer behaviour. You can discover so much about a brand or a product at a click of a button. The continued development of online shopping in the region is very exciting.”

Lastly, where is the market headed?
“The market is at its most exciting time in the last 10 years. We see all the large groups refocusing on creation and niche collections. Underpinning this is the opportunity it gives to very talented perfumers in bringing their products to an audience who really wants to explore.”

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