According to the 9th annual Global Retail Development Index (GRDI) study from management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region exhibits the most exciting retail growth opportunities today for international retailers.
Eight countries in the Mena region are among the GRDI’s top 21: Kuwait (2), Saudi Arabia (4), United Arab Emirates (7), Tunisia (11), Egypt (13), Morocco (15), Turkey (18) and Algeria (21) and most of these countries have increased in attractiveness from last years index.
The study says smaller countries including Kuwait, represent increasingly attractive opportunities for international retail expansion. Fiscal stimuli in some Mena markets and the region’s rich oil supply have contributed to the positive outlook. The Mena region appears poised for fast recovery from the global turbulence and its retail market has proven resilient. Retail sales are rising, driven by higher disposable incomes, urban population growth, a strengthening middle class and infrastructure investments.
“The attractiveness of the Mena retail markets provides ample opportunities for regional as well as global retailers,” said Martin Fabel, Partner, A.T. Kearney Middle East. “Our research stresses that establishing operations in a portfolio of countries both small and large offers the best path to global success for retailers.”
In addition to Kuwait, the continued strength of the UAE and Saudi Arabia places these markets among top 10 most attractive retail destinations globally. This high rank highlights the abundant opportunities for further in-country expansion and the ability to leverage regional experiences across the Gulf.
As part of this year’s GRDI, A.T. Kearney also surveyed 60 retail executives from around the world to identify emerging competitive trends and confirm the GRDI rankings. The study revealed that expansion is also on the agenda for many emerging market retailers – ninety-two percent of respondents indicated they are looking to expand beyond their home market, with most expecting to expand into the BRIC countries. Even though the UAE has moved slightly from 4th to 7th place in this year’s GRDI, it is the only Middle East destination mentioned by the surveyed retail executives as an expansion destination