By John Lee.
Reuters reports that Qatar-based Abu Issa Holding plans to expand into Iran next year and open stores in Tehran selling watches and confectionery.
The family-run is one of the largest retail and luxury goods firms in the Middle East.
Ashraf Abu Issa, chairman and chief executive of Abu Issa Holding, told the news agency:
“We will start with five or six stores in Tehran. We plan to open a similar number every year for the next five years and also in the city of Isfahan, which we expect to become a touristic hub in coming years.”
“Because Iran was closed for some time, there is not a lot of data — numbers and information — out there. Even the government is not sure about some procedures like custom duties and categorisation of products, and how far they will protect local industries. That’s why you need a local partner.” Abu Issa is also wary of stiff local competition.
“It’s not easy to compete in that market. We don’t want to be too aggressive at the beginning — we want to understand first how the market goes.”