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AS Watson Group to enter Middle East in partnership with Al-Futtaim

A Watsons store in Hong Kong.

Middle Eastern retail conglomerate Al-Futtaim is bringing Asian beauty retail brand Watsons to the Gulf in a partnership with AS Watson Group.

The partnership marks AS Watson Group’s first franchise agreement in its almost 180-year of history and its first venture into the Middle East.

The first Watsons flagship will launch in Dubai Mall on October 1 together with its e-commerce store and mobile app. Al-Futtaim said it plans to open 100 stores by the end of 2025.

“As a local business operating across the globe, it is our duty to support and contribute to the economic growth of the region we belong to, while bringing quality and customer-oriented brands to our retail network,” said Omar Al Futtaim, vice chairman at Al-Futtaim Group.

“Our partnership with A.S. Watson Group is another milestone in our journey to further enhance both the UAE and the Middle East’s position in the world’s top retail destinations map,” he said

Al-Futtaim will roll out two more Watsons outlets in Dubai Festival City Center and The Mall of the Emirates by the end of this year. The beauty retailer will make its debut in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia next year.

“Al-Futtaim has impressed us with its proven experience and track record in quality management of retail brands,” said Dominic Lai, MD at AS Watson Group.

“We are excited to partner with them to bring new offline and online beauty experiences as well as numerous trendy brands to customers in the region.”

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