Dubai-based property specialist Al-Futtaim recently stated that organic growth and customer centricity will be the cornerstone for a new era of positive change: “We will achieve this by keeping things simple,” explains Group CEO, Robert Willett. “We will maximise the customer experience so the guiding principle to grow the Al-Futtaim business across the landscape comes from a simple premise: focus on the customer and make sure you do the right thing from the employees’ perspective.”
Indeed, the group has the pedigree, people and products to grow significantly across the region and increase its relevance to its local customers and society across multiple industries. Most importantly, it has a stable of brands that any simple shopkeeper would die for. Al-Futtaim businesses currently operate across 13 countries.
To support the customer centricity focus, the group has laid out several housekeeping strategies to focus on nearly 20,000 direct and indirect associates in the GCC countries alone, plus Egypt, Syria, Morocco, Singapore, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Western Europe.
“Three years ago in Singapore, we purchased the Robinsons Group which includes Marks & Spencer, Coast, Fat Face, Trucco and River Island franchise rights for both Singapore and Malaysia,” says Willett. “We are actively working on an expansion plan for our Robinsons department store as well as Marks & Spencer and Marks & Spencer standalone food stores. The expansion cost will be a significant investment over the period of five years.”
Having established itself as a key destination, the Groups Dubai Festival City project has recently announced a deal with Hard Rock Cafe and has finalised the leasing for its 80,000sq ft indoor Family Entertainment Centre, a theme park featuring indoor roller coasters modelled on Casper the Ghost, due to open in December.
“Welcoming Hard Rock Cafe to Dubai Festival City has been part of our measured expansion plans to differentiate ourselves and we have been in discussion with the brand since it closed its original premises on Sheikh Zayed Road,” says Director Commercial & Retail Leasing, Philip Evans.
The announcement further extends Dubai Festival City’s food and beverage offer and shows that Al-Futtaim is committed to diversifying into specialized retail businesses. Hard Rock Cafe will offer fans, Festival Centre guests, as well as DFC residents, a unique venue to enjoy the finest cuisine and drinks in an exciting American rock ‘n’ roll ambiance.
“We are also launching and progressively opening a restaurant pavilion on the Marina and will be launching a 15,000sq ft nightclub adjacent to the Hard Rock Café early next year,” says Evans.
For the full article, please see the October 2010 issue.