DWELL re-strategises brand positioning

Rupkatha Bhowmick

In 2003, Abu Dhabi-based retail group LIWA Trading Enterprises launched a homeware brand called DWELL, with a strong focus on bedding, bath linens and complementary product categories. Over the years, the brand grew, currently boasting an eight-store network in the UAE – including Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain – in addition to Bahrain and Qatar.

“The brand, however, has gone through a fair bit of turbulence,” revealed Fiona Graham, business manager for DWELL, during an exclusive interview with RetailME.

Overall, the business required care, nurturing and, importantly, innovation. The brand realised the need to better engage with its customers and decided to work on a new store concept, which was rolled out in Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi. “The redesigned store has been trading since November 2018, and the results have been fantastic,” Graham stated.

“Since its launch, this is the first big refurbishment that DWELL has undertaken, in terms of product assortment and design. The store is clutter-free, with product lines organised in a manner that is easy for customers to spot. The idea was to implement a store design and plan visual merchandising in a manner that befits our brands and customer base,” she explained.

The new store concept has led to a spike in average spend per person in Marina Mall store, which hovers around AED580 versus AED380 in the non-renovated stores, as of the first week of February 2019.

DWELL’s overall sales also increased by 28% over the last year. “A major driver has been week-on-week promotions at the non-renovated DWELL stores, since we have enough volume that helps us to maintain a healthy margin,” Graham observed.

Along with the new store design, the product mix has also restrategised. “While accessories are a small part of our business, we have expanded it,” Graham elaborated. “It now drives 7% of the sales mix in Marina Mall versus 2% in the non-renovated stores. Compared to the same period last year, the category has increased 66% in value terms. Home fragrance is a new category running at a 5% sales mix, which has grown 800%. The bath category drives 19% of the mix, 25% up on sales over last year. Bedding continues to be one of the biggest categories within DWELL, accounting for 66% of the mix.”

The article has been published in the March edition of RetailME