NEW YORK — Harvey Nichols, the U.K. chain with global ambitions, plans to open a 130,000-square-foot department store in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
The unit will be licensed to Obaid Al-Tayer, who owns and operates Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Giorgio Armani boutiques in the Middle East under exclusive arrangements.
The Harvey Nichols store is scheduled to open in the Mall of the Emirates in the fall of 2005.
Harvey Nichols has already announced plans to open a 60,000-square-foot store in Hong Kong in the second half of 2005, at The Landmark, a luxury retail destination.
Dubai is becoming a hotbed for upscale retailers. Saks Fifth Avenue plans to open a licensed store there and, as reported, the seven-month-old Villa Moda store there is running 45 percent ahead of plan, outperforming its Kuwait flagship.
“Dubai is the Hong Kong of the Middle East,” said Marvin Traub of Marvin Traub Associates, who works as an adviser to Al-Tayer.
He described Al-Tayer as a successful retailer, a resident of Dubai, who operates multibrand boutiques, auto dealerships and other businesses in addition to the designer shops. He also has a buying organization. “I’ve been an adviser to him in the negotiations, and I am helping him plan the store.” said Traub, who is also a senior adviser to Financo Inc.
Harvey Nichols is privately owned by Hong Kong-based Dickson Concepts, controlled by Dickson Poon. “I think he would like to see Harvey Nichols grow into a global brand,” Traub noted. Last year, Charles M. Jayson, president and chief executive officer of Dickson North America, said, “We believe that Harvey Nichols has worldwide appeal and we’ll be exploring all continents and major cities.” America is a possibility. The Harvey Nichols chain is run by Joseph Wan, who is based at the company’s London headquarters near its flagship in Knightsbridge.
Dickson’s global aspirations could also extend to Barneys New York, which last week hired Peter J. Solomon Co. and Morgan Stanley as financial advisers and was officially declared up for sale. “I believe there will be enormous interest in Barneys,” Traub said, adding that he believes Barneys has the potential to be a global brand, too. Dickson has shown interest in Barneys in the past.
Harvey Nichols, which also operates stores in Leeds, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Manchester in England, as well as Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, is steeped in designer fashion, selling such brands as Gucci, Prada, Marc Jacobs, Missoni, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, John Galliano and Dolce & Gabbana
Dickson Concepts also operates a range of licensed stores in Asia, including units for Coach, Tod’s, Bulgari, Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren. ?