Not about to be mired down by the U.S. economy, Oscar de la Renta Ltd. is heading to the Arabian Gulf region to increase international sales.

This story first appeared in the May 15, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The company has inked a multiterritory distribution partnership with the Dubai-based Retail Arabia International, a joint venture of Daud Investments and GGICO. As part of the deal, Retail Arabia International will operate freestanding Oscar de la Renta boutiques in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, with plans to unveil five stores in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Riyadh and Jeddah in the next three years.

The first of the Gulf region stores will open in September in the Dubai Mall, through a partnership with Symphony Style. The stores will be stocked with the designer’s ready-to-wear and bridal collections, select items that are exclusive to Oscar de la Renta boutiques and accessories including shoes, handbags and jewelry.

Going global has been a key growth strategy in recent years for the 44-year-old company. In addition, Retail Arabia International will distribute all Oscar de la Renta products in the territory through new and existing wholesale channels. The designer’s collections are currently available at Boutique 1 in Dubai, Saks Fifth Avenue in Riyadh and Jeddah, and Harvey Nichols in Riyadh.

In keeping with the aesthetic in de la Renta’s existing stores, the new locations will also feature Dominican coral stone and high-gloss white anigré wood, and construction will be overseen by Meyer Davis Studio Inc., which handled most of the designer’s 10 freestanding stores. Oscar de la Renta also sells via e-commerce on its Web site.

The company’s chief executive officer, Alex Bolen said, “As each of the various markets has tremendous growth potential, the Gulf region overall is an integral part of our international expansion, both at wholesale and retail. We look forward to building our partnerships, with Retail Arabia and the Daud family, in such important and strategic markets.”