Michael Ward, managing director of Harrods

DUBAI — The first regional edition of Harrods Magazine launched this month. Michael Ward, the retailer’s managing director, visited here this week to unveil the magazine to their loyal customers.

“We want to be communicating with our key customer groups. And the Middle East is a key customer group. To put it into perspective, during the summer months, around half the spend of the Middle Eastern visitors in the U.K. is in Harrods.”

The 116-page title covers fashion, beauty, fine jewelry, watches and lifestyle, with all content chosen specially for Middle Eastern readers. The first edition of Harrods Magazine Arabia has been published in English, with plans for dual language editions next year.

“We really wanted to engage our customers in their home market,” Ward said. “For our customers here in the region, everything is about planning of that summer trip. For example, we want to remind them that the amazing piece of exotic crocodile is only available at Harrods. It’s always about reminding them that we are there, we want to build the relationship.”

Ward said their Middle Eastern customer visits the store on average three to four days a week for three or four weeks during their summer holidays in the U.K.

He added that the store saw an upswing in Gulf spend as a result of anti-Islamic sentiments felt in other parts of Europe. “People feel very insecure in the rest of Europe. Paris is a disaster, everyone feels unsafe. They feel safer in London, perhaps more welcoming an environment,” he said.

Ward said he also travels to the region to keep a close eye on the changing interests and lifestyle of customers based in the region so that the retailer can elevate the experience in London, including creating restaurants catering to their needs. “It’s not just about product. It’s about the whole of their journey through the store,” he said.

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