Marimekko is embarking on an important new partnership with the aim of opening a total of eight Marimekko stores in the Middle East by the end of 2019. The first store will open in Dubai in September 2014, followed by two in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, most likely next year. It is intended to extend operations in the years ahead to include Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Marimekko has signed a partnership contract with BinHendi Enterprises, which has more than 40 years of experience in retailing international fashion and lifestyle brands in the Middle East and India. The company also owns and operates restaurants and cafés in Dubai. The first Marimekko stores will be opened in the United Arab Emirates, and the intention is to further extend operations later on to Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The stores will be owned by BinHendi Enterprises, and their location, visual aspects and concept as well as local marketing will comply with Marimekko policies.
The first store will be in the new Al Wasl shopping mall in Dubai, scheduled to open in September 2014 in the stylish Jumeira district. It is also intended to open a Marimekko café with the store. The next two stores will open in Dubai and Abu Dhabi after suitable retail premises have been found.
"I am delighted that we have succeeded in building Marimekko into a brand able to attract retail-sector players throughout the world. We have concentrated in our expansion into the international market primarily on regions with plenty of growth potential. The UAE is an attractive market for us, famous for its excellent shopping opportunities – the entire spectrum of the world's leading brands are represented there.
"The region has a great deal of local purchasing power and a strong tourist flow. Dubai is particularly interesting because it is a busy shopping destination for tourists, attracting visitors from around the world. For these reasons, the brand's recognition factor can be cultivated there on a very broad front," says Mika Ihamuotila, President and CEO.
"BinHendi Enterprises is an excellent partner for us as they have over 40 years of experience in importing international brands to the Middle East and India. Together with them, we are setting out to seek a foothold for Marimekko in what for us is a totally new market area. As with our other international partners, we will build a network of stores step by step on a solid foundation. This is long-term work, and achieving the position we are aiming for will take several years," Ihamuotila continues.
“I was very impressed by the products, colours and collections of Marimekko when I first saw them in Los Angeles and New York. Marimekko will certainly add value to BinHendi Enterprises, and we are glad to offer the residents of Dubai the great opportunity to enjoy its vibrant collections. With our broad experience of dealing with top international brands in the Middle East, we are confident to say that Marimekko will be a unique addition to the retail sector in Dubai,” notes Mr Binhendi, President of BinHendi Enterprises.
As a result of the partnership, the market area of Central and Southern Europe previously referred to in Marimekko's financial disclosures will be known as EMEA (Europe and Middle East Area) starting from the Q2 interim report for 2014.