“2022 taught us to be brave, embrace change and 2023 will be exciting” – Exclusive interview with AKI


January 19, 2023 | By Rupkatha B

“If anything, 2022 was an exhilarating year for us at AKI and there are major milestones to account for. We opened new stores across the region launching innovative products and developing strong strategic partnerships,” shared Al Khayyat Investments (AKI) Managing Director Zaid S. Al Khayyat during an exclusive interview with RetailME.

With a growing network of more than 200 retail outlets in the MENA region, coupled with e-commerce presence across all its brands UAE-based family-owned conglomerate AKI is indeed on a growth path. The past year saw AKI expand to Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Oman with Befit’s first store in Erbil, Petit Bateau’s first store in Jeddah and BinSina’s first store in Muscat.

“This year too there are some exciting new partnerships with global brands to look out for,” Zaid added.

Founded in 1982 AKI has four business units that fall under AKI Retail. Pharmacy and Wellness business unit with brands such as BinSina Pharmacy and Holland & Barrett. The Fashion unit features brands including SuperDry, Petit Bateau and adL. BeFit, an AKI fitness brand is part of AKI’s Fitness and Lifestyle unit. Il Caffe di Roma is a prominent brand within the Food and Beverage unit.

Asked about the company’s growth outlook for 2023, Zaid emphatically said, “We will continue to expand and strengthen our presence throughout the MENA region by entering new markets with our portfolio of brands. Our multifaceted partnerships with global brands will also bring new opportunities.

Another focus moving forward is to accelerate digital transformation throughout AKI operations to completely “revolutionise” the way it does business.

“Digitisation was a key focus for us this year across all our sectors. We realised the true value of digital transformation and what it could do for us and our stakeholders. Changes have been made across management and operations to make way for AKI’s digital future. Our mono-brand e-commerce websites will also help us to reach new customers while offering them the convenience of online shopping. On the other hand, we will continue to build our multicultural team across stores to ensure customers are well-attended while equipping the core business team with relevant trainings to further develop their skillsets. With a determined team, strong collaborations and our newfound strategies 2023 will be exciting.”

Taking every challenge as a learning in summation Zaid observed, “Due to changing market conditions, pricing and other factors were under renewed scrutiny in 2022 to ensure customers could comfortably adapt. This taught us to be flexible when faced with uncertainty so that our businesses continue to run efficiently while also considering pricing standards in the market. Overall, 2022 taught us to be brave and embrace change to better ourselves.”

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