Forever 21 expands in the Middle East and South East Asia
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Forever 21 expands in the Middle East and South East Asia

Forever 21 expands in the Middle East and South East Asia

The group opened a 12,000sq ft store at Dubai’s Ibn Battuta Mall last week, which signals its expansion strategy across the two markets

Zubina Ahmed
Forever 21 expands in the Middle East and South East Asia

UAE-based retail operator Sharaf Group said it was planning to open more branches of fast fashion chain Forever 21 in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. The group opened a 12,000sq ft store at Dubai’s Ibn Battuta Mall last week, which signals its expansion strategy across the two markets

The brand is determined to bring fast fashion at affordable pricing to its consumer and also deliver a great in-store experience. Yasser Sharaf, vice president (Retail, Hospitality, Industry and financial services) of Sharaf Group said, “This is in line with our vision and endeavour to reach closer to our brand fans in different parts of the UAE and convert new ones. Our goal is to nurture the longstanding relationship with Middle Eastern consumers by investing in expanding our presence across the region and elevating the brand experience across an omnichannel ecosystem that encompasses retail stores, ecommerce and social media.”

The chain filed for bankruptcy in 2019 closing nearly 350 stores globally. It was acquired by Authentic Brands Group (ABG), a global brand development, marketing and entertainment company in 2020. In October 2021, ABG had announced a long-term partnership with Sharaf Group for Forever 21.

Read: Forever 21 files for bankruptcy, plans to exit most of its locations in Asia and Europe

Through the agreement, Sharaf Group, which has been Forever 21’s core operating partner in the Middle East for the last decade expanded its licensing rights from apparel and accessories to additional product categories including health and beauty, fragrance and home, and new territories including Southeast Asia and ecommerce.

Both groups are currently rolling out a regional omnichannel strategy focused on today’s generation of fashion consumers. Henry Stupp, president, EMEA at ABG noted, “Sharaf Group is an experienced leader in the Middle East & South East Asia’s retail market with vast expertise in the retail industry. We look forward to our expansion spree in the region in collaboration with the Sharaf Group.”

Sharaf Group specialises in retail development and brand building, with expertise in design, manufacturing, store operations and ecommerce. By franchising Forever 21 in the UAE, the Group is looking for better ways to evolve it in the region. Yasser said, “Forever 21 has been in the region for more than 15 years now and has an established clientele who have been avid shoppers and have always been connected with the brand. The brand is committed to offer an exceptional in store shopping experience. Furthermore we are also very rapidly increasing our retail footprint by opening more stores.”

Talking about the trends on UAE’s retail ecosystem, Yasser added,”Fashion retail is here to stay and shall continue to evolve. As the consumption trends keep evolving, the fashion retail business will have to continuously innovate and adapt to the ever changing demands and trends.” Looking into the future, the fast-fashion brand is committed to expand across the Middle East and SouthEast Asia.”We intend to roll three or four more stores before the end calendar 2022 and take the total number of doors from 22 to 25-26,” concluded Yasser.

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