British brand Marks & Spencer (M&S) marks its 20th year in the UAE in partnership with Al-Futtaim. The first M&S store opened in 1998 in Deira, Dubai. Today, M&S boasts a 16-store network in the UAE along with an option to shop online on its website.
“As long-term partners of Marks & Spencer, we are delighted to be celebrating 20 years of business together,” says Stephen Rayfield, vice president Marks & Spencer MENA and Asia. “This year marks an important milestone in our journey in the Middle East and we are excited about the future as the business continues to thrive in the market.”
The partnership has accelerated M&S’s expansion across the Middle East, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Macau, with Al-Futtaim operating 88 stores in total.
Since signing the franchise agreement with Al-Futtaim in 1997, M&S has achieved some important milestones in expanding its franchised international business. In 2007, the largest M&S store outside of the UK was built in Dubai Festival City Mall, and in 2017, this flagship store was modernised to include a new M&S Café, welcoming customers to its first-ever table-waited dining experience in the region. More recently M&S has, with the support of Al-Futtaim, expanded its food offer in the region with its first standalone food store in the Middle East at Dubai Marina Walk that opened in 2017, followed by the Springs Souq store in 2018.
“Celebrating our 20th anniversary in the UAE with Al-Futtaim is an exceptionally proud moment for Marks & Spencer. Since we opened our first Dubai store in 1998, our partnership with Al-Futtaim has gone from strength to strength with 88 stores and a growing online business across the Middle East and Asia. We would like to thank the support of our partner, customers and colleagues over the last twenty years for the role they have played in making M&S in the UAE the fantastic business it is today. We also want to celebrate the future of our partnership and our continued commitment to delight and excite our customers with our quality, stylish clothing collections and our great tasting food,” adds Paul Friston, M&S’s international director.
What’s more, M&S and Al-Futtaim recently unveiled the brand-new Kuwait website, bringing its flagship shopping experience of approximately 10,000 quality clothing and homeware products to customers across Kuwait.
Recently the business also launched M&S’s first-ever modest collection, helping to align stylish dressing with local tastes and fashions.