Saudi’s Alhokair plans to open 57 new F&B outlets

By Ashika Rajan, Trainee Reporter
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Leading Saudi retail conglomerate Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Co. (Alhokair) is going ahead with an ambitious expansion plan, aiming to open about 57 food and beverage (F&B) outlets and at least 50 additional retail stores in the luxury, cosmetics, beauty, and sports sectors over the next 12 to 16 months.

Mr. Marwan Moukarzel, Chief Executive Officer of Alhokair pointed out “we are always exploring every interesting brand that has a future potential, ‘omni-chanellable,’ ‘Instagramable,’ and has a potential in the Saudi market.”

Alhokair has added brands like Kiko in the cosmetics space and Decathlon in the sports and leisure space in the last year. Decathlon’s first store in Saudi Arabia will be a 3500 square meter location in Jeddah’s Mall of Arabia. With their fiscal year beginning in April, Mr. Moukarzel said that the priority will be on returning to normal, “slowly but surely,” following the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Alhokair’s CEO remarked that “with Ramadan around the corner and restrictions lifted recently, we can only be optimistic about the future. It would be interesting to see how fast the market goes back to normal. Saudi Arabia was set for “an amazing growth story.”

About a year ago, Alhokair paid $90.67 million to Food and Entertainment Company Ltd. for the Saudi rights to ten multinational food and beverage brands. “This gives us a new angle to the business and diversifies our focus…. We are also looking at adding more F&B exciting concepts into our portfolio,” Mr. Moukarzel added.

In a deal worth $18.35 million, Alhokair partnered with shopping center operator Arabian Centers Company (ACC) to buy a majority stake in UK-based eCommerce platform Vogacloset. Its online business has grown rapidly, with a 311 percent increase in online operation in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the fourth quarter of 2020, according to its full-year report for 2020.

Alhokair, which was established in 1990, has 1,580 stores in about 100 shopping malls across 13 countries, employing over 10,000 people and serving 81 brands in womenswear, menswear, kids and baby, department.

Related: Saudi Arabia raises $2.04bn through domestic Sukuk issuance