Ramadan is traditionally the retailing highlight of the year in Saudi Arabia and this year is no exception as malls across the Kingdom welcome hundreds of thousands of shoppers and visitors everyday.
Sales during the holy month have grown year on year — but within the Kingdom this is also part of a wider trend of increasing footfall, sales and an ever-broader range of retail options for families encouraging a booming domestic market.
Increasingly, retailers enjoy consistent growing sales throughout the month with a surge near the end of the month as families prepare for the Eid Al-Fitr holiday.
Saudi Arabia’s young population has a growing engagement with global brands that is driving an increasing demand for fashion retail.
During Ramadan last year, the Nakheel Mall location of Spanish fashion chain Zara was the brand’s second highest selling location worldwide.
The confidence and optimism of retailers ahead of Ramadan also extends to the future. Alhokair Fashion Retail’s leading brands are opening new flagship stores across Saudi Arabia, and established brands are opening new chains within the Kingdom’s largest three cities — Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam — in addition to smaller towns and cities across the country.
At Alhokair Fashion Retail alone, we are opening 110 new stores this year. The company is focusing its sights on investing in brands and storefronts that matter most to Saudis.
The Saudi market still has the potential to be better served in terms of malls and retail compared to its GCC neighbors, meaning the Kingdom’s population is yearning for variety and ingenuity in the retail experience. This is exactly what lifestyle fashion franchisees hope to achieve.
At Alhokair Fashion Retail we are encouraged both by what is already becoming a fantastic Ramadan season and the underlying trends of the domestic Saudi market that together bode well for the long-term.
A mix of new stores opening, new malls under construction and the way our increasingly sophisticated society recognizes the quality and diversity of the retail offering here means the prospects for the retail sector in the Kingdom have never been better.
The writer is the managing director and board member of Alhokair Fashion Retail