"The tsunami of e-commerce is going to hit the shores of the Mideast. Straight away, it will be mobile, not desktop."That's Marcus Freeman, chief financial officer of the Chalhoub Group, talking up the region as huge opportunity for retailers and brands. The Dubai-based Chalhoub Group brings luxury brands to the Mideast through its retail, distribution and marketing services and has more than 12,000 associates working in 14 countries and a network of 650-plus retail stores. Freeman spoke Tuesday at the Retail Leaders Circle conference themed, "Re-Configuring, the New State of Retail"and held at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Manhattan.Freeman said the Middle East was a complex business environment and didn't neglect to cite the turmoil in some countries such as Yemen and Syria, but with its young population and propensity for luxury — particularly accessories, jewelry and beauty products — and economic growth rate that's been higher than the U.S. or Europe, the market is ripe for online activity. The channel is not as prevalent in the Mideast as in the West. But according to Freeman, "a digital revolution is in the making."Primarily, Freeman addressed market conditions within Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which comprise the Gulf Cooperation Council. "Smartphone penetration is very high and social media is becoming increasingly powerful…lots of pure plays are coming into the market," he said.Freeman said 50 percent of the population is under 30, the average annual luxury spend per person is $2,000, but the average spend on gifts is $10,000 annually. YouTube, WhatsApp and Facebook are among the most popular social media platforms.Middle Easterners are "very much into accessories due to traditional dressing standards," Freeman said, meaning they cover up more to show less of their bodies but are into adorning what they wear. He also said leather goods represents a higher proportion of the fashion spend, compared to the West.According to Chaloub's figures, the Persian Gulf region has a 2.9 percent GDP growth rate through 2018, whereas Europe is at 1.7 percent, and the U.S. is at 2.4 percent.
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion