Chalhoub Group’s Fashion Lab to award Saudi fashion newcomers

Chalhoub Group’s  Fashion Lab  to award Saudi fashion newcomers
Based in Dubai, the group has been a major operator in Saudi Arabia for more than 50 years. (Supplied)
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Updated 11 July 2021

Chalhoub Group’s Fashion Lab to award Saudi fashion newcomers

Chalhoub Group’s  Fashion Lab  to award Saudi fashion newcomers
  • Local entrepreneurs offered the chance of winning $15,000 in funding to help establish their fashion brand

JEDDAH:  Luxury retailer Chalhoub Group has set up an initiative in Saudi Arabia offering local entrepreneurs the chance of winning $15,000 in funding to help establish their fashion brand.

The Fashion Lab, a first-of-its-kind in the Kingdom, is focused on sustainable fashion, contemporary design, streetwear and accessories, and nurturing new designers who are set on disrupting the fashion status quo.

Applications are now open and successful participants will get to take part in a two-week “boot camp,” which will help them navigate through different elements to develop their brand, including marketing, supply chain management, content creation and media exposure.

FASHIONFIX

Fashion sales in the GCC amount to around $50 billion a year, according to a McKinsey report in December 2019, with the average spent per capita amounting to around $500 in Saudi Arabia.

With online fashion sales booming as a result of people stuck at home during the pandemic, Statista estimates that the Kingdom’s online clothing segment will be worth $1.484 billion in 2021 and is forecast to grow at an annual rate of 5.19 percent for the next four years.

Namshi, the online e-commerce site owned by Dubai’s Emaar Malls, told Arab News in February it had seen 50 percent growth in revenues from Saudi Arabia in the last year and is set to expand into a new warehouse facility in Riyadh to capitalise on surging sales. While parent company Emaar Malls recently reported a 24.8 percent fall in revenues for 2020 to AED3.51 billion ($960 million), Namshi saw sales increase 28 percent to AED1.316 billion over the same period, with the Kingdom representing 70 percent of sales.

On top of the $15,000 funding, applicants may also be offered equity partnerships after the program finishes at the end of the year, and may also access the Chalhoub Group’s online and in-store retail network to sell their products.

Dina Sidani, chief innovation officer, said that she believed the Fashion Lab “will have long-term positive impact in promoting innovation in the fashion industry locally, while creating young fashion champions from the Kingdom for the world.”

Based in Dubai, the group has been a major operator in Saudi Arabia for more than 50 years. It is active in 14 countries, with around 700 stores and 12,000 employees.

Up to five brands will be selected to take part in the Fashion Lab and the deadline for submissions for the first cohort is July 25, 2021.

FASTFACT

Applications are now open and successful participants will get to take part in a two-week ‘boot camp,’ which will help them navigate through different elements to develop their brand, including marketing, supply chain management, content creation and media exposure.

The initiative is part of a wider push to develop the Saudi fashion sector and nurture homegrown brands. On Wednesday, the Kingdom’s Fashion Commission announced the finalists chosen to take part in its yearlong Saudi 100 Brands program. The initiative will include training, advice and mentorship from experts in the fashion sector.

A shortlist of 400 was whittled down from an initial 1,348 applicants.

The program offers a one-year brand development initiative with training and mentoring, individual and group consultancy and advisory sessions, and virtual and in-person training workshops.


EU and GCC should create greater supply lines, says French trade minister

EU and GCC should create greater supply lines, says French trade minister
Updated 22 min 23 sec ago

EU and GCC should create greater supply lines, says French trade minister

EU and GCC should create greater supply lines, says French trade minister

RIYADH: Global supply chains need to be rethought to reduce the impacts of humanitarian or geopolitical crises, France’s foreign trade minister has told the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyadh.

Franck Riester highlighted the health, energy and food sectors in particular as areas where the current system is susceptible to fluctuations, such as those caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The minister said the European Union is already seeking to diversify its suppliers in a number of areas, and flagged up closer working with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries as part of this.

The GCC will be "good partners" in a post-pandemic world, he said.


Pound at new 20-month high vs. euro on diverging central bank bets

Pound at new 20-month high vs. euro on diverging central bank bets
Updated 26 October 2021

Pound at new 20-month high vs. euro on diverging central bank bets

Pound at new 20-month high vs. euro on diverging central bank bets

LONDON: Sterling touched a new 20-month high against the euro on Tuesday, driven by diverging interest rate expectations for Britain and the eurozone, though concerns over economic growth and EU ties kept the currency broadly flat on the day.

Money markets are pricing in a rate hike by the Bank of England at its Nov. 4 meeting, helping the pound rally around 2 oercebt versus the euro and the dollar so far this month .

The euro, meanwhile, is being dogged by signs the European Central Bank will be among the last to raise interest rates in the developed world. Monday data showing German business morale deteriorating for the fourth month running in October, cemented expectations of a dovish message from Thursday’s ECB meeting.

By 0850 GMT, sterling traded at 84.2 pence to the euro, 0.2 percent firmer on the day at the highest since February 2020, while against the dollar it was marginally firmer at $1.378, having come off five-week highs touched last week.

However, Britain's weak economic data — including last Friday’s unexpected drop in retail sales — has capped the pound’s gains. Short-dated gilt yields too have slipped from 17-month highs hit last week, with fears growing that impending policy tightening will exacerbate the slowdown.

“Euro-sterling is trading close to the bottom end of its post-referendum low on BoE hike expectations. But UK growth momentum is weakening, which could see euro-sterling turn,” Bilal Hafeez, head of the MacroHive consultancy, told clients.

There are also concerns around potential tax hikes that may be unveiled in Wednesday's budget announcement, alongside EU-UK wrangling over provisions that govern post-Brexit trade between Britain, Northern Ireland, and EU member Ireland.

Britain has threatened to take unilateral action if a solution cannot be found at the ongoing talks, which some reckon could emerge as a serious headwind for the pound.


Ma’aden pledges 60% emissions cut by 2040

Ma’aden pledges 60% emissions cut by 2040
Updated 26 October 2021

Ma’aden pledges 60% emissions cut by 2040

Ma’aden pledges 60% emissions cut by 2040

RIYADH: The Saudi Arabian Mining Co., or Ma’aden, will cut carbon emissions by 60 percent by 2040 and reduce groundwater consumption by 65 percent, its chief executive said in an interview with Al-Arabiya. 

Speaking on the sidelines of the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, Abdulaziz Al-Harbi said the production at the mining company would not slow.

The mining company on Monday posted profit of SR1.27 billion ($339 million), after deduction of zakat and taxes, in the first nine months of the year as compared to SR6.47 million a year ago. Revenue over the same period rose 44 percent to SR6.7 billion.


Crypto too close to criminals, says SAMA governor

Crypto too close to criminals, says SAMA governor
Updated 17 min 53 sec ago

Crypto too close to criminals, says SAMA governor

Crypto too close to criminals, says SAMA governor

Saudi Arabia’s central bank (SAMA) should have no involvement with crypto-assets as many of those who deal with them are criminals, according to its governor.

Speaking at the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyadh, Fahad Al Mubarak claimed there would be no smashing of the banking system by digital currencies such as Bitcoin, but instead an expansion of a centralized system for regulating the tender.

Regulators are still playing catch-up when it comes to how crypto-curencies should be governed, he added.

Hussain Abdulla, co-CEO of Qatar-based investment bank QInvest, claimed the products were not yet Sharia-compliant, and more understanding was needed.

Abdulla warned though that the Middle East is lagging way behind the US and Europe when it comes to digitization of the banking industry, adding: “Winners in the banking industry will be those who take steps today toward digitization rather than later.”

The SAMA governor talked up the rise of online banking during the Covid-19 crisis, and said: “Before the pandemic only 35 percent of the transactions were electronic, now it’s around 55 percent “


Dubai’s DIFC regulator issues first part of digital assets framework

Dubai’s DIFC regulator issues first part of digital assets framework
Updated 26 October 2021

Dubai’s DIFC regulator issues first part of digital assets framework

Dubai’s DIFC regulator issues first part of digital assets framework

DUBAI: The regulator for DIFC, Dubai’s state-owned financial free zone and the Middle East’s major finance center, has released the first part of a regulatory framework for digital tokens aimed at opening up trading of the fast-growing asset class.

The move by the Dubai Financial Services Authority comes as Gulf countries start to look at how to regulate digital assets to attract new forms of business as regional economic competition heats up.

The framework initially covers security and derivative tokens it refers to as investment tokens — digital representations of rights and obligations equivalent to those conferred by assets such as shares or futures contracts, issued, transferred and stored using distributed ledger technology such as blockchain.

It expects to issue another consultation this year for tokens not yet covered by the regulation, including exchange tokens — also known as cryptocurrencies — utility tokens and some asset-backed tokens known as stablecoins.

Last month, the UAE’s Securities and Commodities Authority and the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority agreed a framework that allows DWTCA to approve and license financial activities relating to crypto assets.

 Bahrain in 2019 released rules regulating crypto assets.