Victoria’s Secret opens stores in Bahrain & Saudi

US lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret will open two new stores in the Gulf by August as it looks to capitalise on the region’s growing retail market, the firm’s franchise partner said.

The glamorous line will launch a new outlet in the Kingdom Centre in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh this weekend, followed by a store in Bahrain City Centre in August.

Victoria’s Secret, part of US fashion chain Limitedbrands, has seven stores in retail hubs across the Gulf already, including three in Dubai, two in Kuwait and one in Qatar.

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The Doha store was unveiled this week as the first Victoria’s Secret outlet in the state.

A spokesperson from franchise partner Kuwait-based Alshaya, which operates more than 55 international retail concepts and 750 stores in the region, said the firm had further openings in the pipeline, but declined to specify the locations.

The company is the third American lingerie brand to announce its debut or expansion in the Middle East this year. Mid-range brand Baci last week said it planned to open 10 stores in the UAE alone by 2016 and may expand across the Gulf, under its partnership with Al Aini’s United Fashion House (UFH).

In March, Frederick’s of Hollywood Group also announced a multi-year licensing agreement with Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Associated Business Group to operate 10 stores in six countries.

In an interview Lingerie Insight’s sister title ITP Arabian Business, UFH general manager Manda van Niekerk said the Middle East’s lingerie market was proving increasingly lucrative for retailers.

“Lingerie is really a good bet in the Middle East, it’s something that works,” she said.

Statistics from research consultancy Euromonitor valued the regional market at $171m in 2010.

Victoria’s Secret will be launching in the UK in 2012.

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