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Jul 14, 2021
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Boohoo and Alshaya in Middle East multichannel deal for Debenhams

Jul 14, 2021

Boohoo Group has signed a partnership deal with Alshaya Group to build on the presence of Debenhams in the Middle East and also take other brands in its portfolio to the region via stores rather than just online. 


The company said the link-up marks “a further step as the group accelerates progress, integrating and scaling the Debenhams brand”.

Alshaya currently runs Debenhams stores in leading shopping malls and will have exclusive rights to operate the stores, plus a local e-commerce platform, in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Oman and Qatar.

It's an interesting development that underlines the interest in keeping Debenhams as a physical property in markets outside the UK. It comes shortly after ASOS announced a multichannel deal with Nordstrom for the Topshop brand in the US. And it shows that the online-only moves for former big UK high street names like Debenhams and Topshop don't mean those brands have no future in physical stores elsewhere.

The UK e-tail giant said it “continues to work with new strategic wholesale partners in key regions to extend reach and build brand awareness, and this partnership will see Boohoo Group brands in Debenhams stores from Q4 2021 and also on a new local online platform across the Middle East from early 2022.”

Boohoo CEO John Lyttle said the Debenhams brand has been popular in the Middle East for a number of years “so this is a great opportunity to build on the existing brand awareness, while expanding the product ranges and brands available to customers. It also offers a new route to market for brands within the Boohoo Group, raising their profile in a growing new market. This is a great step as we progress the integration of Debenhams and look at wholesale partnership opportunities to continue to scale the group.”

And Alshaya’s CEO John Hadden added that the Debenhams brand is “highly successful and well-loved” in the region”. He also said that Alshaya “already has the region's largest digital footprint but I know the team are looking forward to learning from such acknowledged global e-commerce experts”.

Boohoo has seen its share price falling in recent periods, but that could change. On Wednesday in response to the Alshaya news, analysts at Jefferies said: “We are encouraged to see Boohoo brands enter Debenhams stores... and see significant scope for Boohoo to build its international presence and raise brand awareness in key territories through the wholesale channel. [The] shares have had a weak run, [but] we see clear upside”.

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