Wage rises in UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar boost sales for regional luxury retailer

Regional Middle Eastern luxury retailer Chalhoub Group said it netted sales growth of 35 per cent last year – driven by a high-end spending spree in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar. This is mainly driven by -sector pay rises across the region and refers to nationals, not expatriates.  

Patrick Chalhoub, the co-chief executive of the company, said  "There has been a willingness to distribute wealth stronger and quicker. This has put more disposable income in the hands of the people," he said. "Part of [the growth in retail sales] was due to the general economy but part was also strong fundamentals in our business." The privately owned company does not disclose earnings.

Governments across the Gulf, particularly in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, have stimulated their economies with huge investments in infrastructure and direct hand-outs to their citizens. Last month, Sheikh Khalifa, President of the UAE, ordered increases in the salaries of all Emirati federal Government employees by 35 per cent to mark the UAE’s 40th birthday.

Mr Chalhoub said sales had also benefited from a high oil price, the growing Middle East population and the huge numbers of tourists who visited the UAE rather than travel to destinations affected by civil unrest.

The Chalhoub Group distributes 280  brands, including joint ventures with Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton. The group is made up of more than 60 companies and has a presence in 14 countries across the Middle East. It has more than 7,300 employees, with about a third of those based in Dubai. Mr Chalhoub estimated that via the group’s fashion and beauty brands it had a 20 per cent market share across the Middle East in the luxury sector.

adapted from The National