The Children’s Place Expands to Middle East

The specialty retailer has signed two 10-year agreements with the Apparel Group.

The Children’s Place will be expanding outside North America for the first time through franchise agreements in the Middle East.

This story first appeared in the June 27, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The specialty retailer has signed two 10-year agreements with the Apparel Group, which will open stores in the Arab Gulf States of United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman, and with Fawaz A. Al Hokair & Co. SJSC, which will open stores across Saudi Arabia.

“The Children’s Place is the number-one children’s specialty apparel retail in North America,” said president and chief executive officer Jane Elfers. “There is a void internationally for high quality, value-priced fashionable children’s apparel and based on our success in North America we feel strongly that The Children’s Place can fill that void. After we see the results from our Middle East expansion we will decide how quickly we can take our brand to new markets.”

The rollout begins with the opening of two stores, in Jeddah and Riyadh, S.A., in the second quarter of this year. Stores are also opening in Dubai and Sharjah in the UAE in September. Between 20 and 25 stores are expected to be operating in the Middle East by the end of the year.

Simon Marshall, ceo of Fawaz A. Al Hokair & Co. SJSC, stated, “We believe The Children’s Place will fill a white space within the children’s wear market by providing a new product offering combining fashion, quality and value.”

Fawaz A. Al Hokair is a publicly listed retail conglomerate based in Saudi Arabia. It has retail operations in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and the U.S. involving more than 1,200 stores and more than 70 brands. Apparel Group is a fashion and retail conglomerate headquartered in Dubai, with more than 655 stores on four continents. The Children’s Place, considered the largest pure-play children’s specialty apparel retailer in North America, operates about 1,060 stores and a Web site.