The Leading Partner For Luxury

As an expert in retail, distribution and marketing services, the Chalhoub Group, based in Dubai, has become a major player in the beauty, fashion and gift sectors regionally. Here, RLI sits down with Patrick Chalhoub, CEO of Chalhoub Group to discuss what the company is currently working on and what its plans are for the years ahead.

By blending its Middle East expertise and intimate knowledge of luxury, Chalhoub Group has been a leading partner for luxury across the Middle East since 1955, and it is building brands in the region by offering service excellence to all its partners and a unique experience to its customers. In today’s fast moving retail landscape, the Group is moving from a traditional distributor and retailer for luxury in the Middle East to a hybrid retailer bringing luxury experiences to the fingertips of customers everywhere.

“Today, we are a Group of 12,000 people and we are very much part of the luxury products market in the Middle East,” explains Patrick Chalhoub, CEO of the Chalhoub Group. “We are very well presented in each of the fourteen countries in which we are present, locally and regionally. We have a world-class professional team and we are really looking to build brands in the region by understanding customers, capturing market share and making sure we create an engagement level, these are all absolutely key factors in our evolution moving forward.”

Currently operating around 700 stores, which is a mixture of own concept stores, franchised and joint venture stores, every year the company targets the opening of 50 to 70 new units. What is perhaps different is that they also close around as many under-performing stores a year as well, making the openings more significant in high catchment areas. From its existing portfolio, the Group has reinvigorated its Faces beauty chain. The brand has recently undergone a revamp and opened in June the very well received nextgeneration store in Mall of the Emirates and Riyadh Park, which will later be deployed across its network.

Chalhoub Group recently opened eight mono-brand fragrances, make-up and fashion stores in the recently launched Al Maryah Central mall to cite a few amongst other openings in the UAE or in Riyadh. Over the course of the last two decades, the company has been in almost constant growth mode, and has seen high double-digit growth almost every year. This has become more challenging since the 2015 oil crisis, but by always putting the customer first the Group has continued to grow.

“We always try to connect and engage with our customers, to understand what they want, learn how they think and what they aspire to, and finally how to bring all this into effect to always remain meaningful to them,” explains Chalhoub. Presently, the company is approximately 650 days into a 900-day plan to meaningfully transform the Group to make them more relevant for customers in a world that continues to change at a lightning pace today. Chalhoub explains that given the volatile economic environment and the changing customer generation, the company felt it needed to instil a certain agility and give more empowerment to its team, so that they could understand and react quickly to any changes in the market. “I believe we have fantastic people in place here and more and more we are giving them the opportunity to unleash their own energy, as first and foremost it is the people who make a company,” Chalhoub states.

Patrick Chalhoub also explains that perhaps one of the reasons for their success is their ability to recognise the occasions when they do not succeed and something is not working, learn from it and share the learning to remain humble in the times success is forthcoming. So what does Patrick feel is the greatest challenge? “It is how to be relevant to and for our consumer. Customers today have so many different choices and it is harder and harder to create loyalty. This is the biggest challenge in a world that is becoming much more open and where competition is fierce,” says Chalhoub.’

As a Group, it might have taken some time to become a very engaged one. We are not only passionate about what we do and how we do it, but we also make sure that we can have an impact on society and that we are a responsible business. We take seriously our responsibility towards our community, our planet and our people and we have a very strong commitment to be responsible and engaged at all times as we continue looking to the future,” Chalhoub concludes.