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Mohi-Din Binhendi

President, BinHendi

Christophe Nicaise

CEO, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons

Tourism and retail go hand-in-hand, meaning many brands in Dubai are benefitting from the Emirates new found glory as a tourism destination.

What role will your company play in helping to realize the 2020 vision and its legacy beyond?

MOHI-DIN BINHENDI We plan to become the supporting factor to everything the UAE wants to achieve. Tourism needs retail and restaurants. Cities with many good quality restaurants are attractive. It brings more and more people to enjoy the food factor here. Like many retailers, we are getting brands that are very much glamorous and have an effect on improving the quality of the retail sector in this part of the world. We have done a lot of investment in our ERP, in restructuring and training, and getting people ready for the challenges that His Highness is going to attract to this part of the world. Here, the operations and the philosophy of His Highness go hand-in-hand. When he initiates a project, it is supported by different kinds of hotels, airlines, airports, shopping experiences, and so on. It completes the whole equation of a very successful destination, Dubai. I think today Dubai is the result of fantastic leadership and is a land of opportunity.

CHRISTOPHE NICAISE The training of our sales team in the store, the training of our technicians in the after sales service—these elements are extremely important and are ongoing projects, because if Dubai is to welcome the world in 2020, service level and customer experience need to impress people as much as the Expo does. Stepping up the quality of service in general is something that needs to be improved and strengthened, and I believe that the government has understood that because they are making a significant effort to promote performance and excellence at all levels; the private sector should be inspired by what is happening.

Where do you see the primary area for opportunity for growth?

MDB As tourism is improving and growing in this part of the world, retail is another part of the backbone of industry. People love the ocean and the sun, but they also want to enjoy shopping. That opportunity has now been made possible on a world-class level in Dubai. We are blessed with big numbers of wealthy people around us. Nevertheless, we need tourists to come here and enjoy themselves. These satisfied people become return visitors. The journey has to be a great experience from the time you land to the time you take off. It makes the journey pleasant and beautiful.

CN We have witnessed over the past decade a complete switch of the luxury good market distribution strategy and distribution channel format. In 2007, wholesale used to account for as much as 79% of the luxury good market revenues against 21% for retail. As of end of 2014 the wholesale share has come down to 68% whereas retail has grown up to 32%. Considering this trend, it will only be natural for our company to seize any opportunity to grow our mono-brand boutique retail portfolio.

How important is it to continue attracting these premium partners for the expansion of BinHendi?

MDB For any corporation, growth is important. When we look around us, there are great potential opportunities in the MENA region, GCC, and beyond, such as India, Pakistan, and Iran. These are all highly populated cities with a desire to have what we have. Dubai has become a showcase for people that come here. Therefore, we are looking at opportunities to franchise our brands to these people. Hence we restructured ourselves to see that we have the right footing to enter that part of the world.

How do you envision your strategy playing out?

CN When the situation is tough and you are lucky enough to be in a corporate environment where you are still financially strong, I firmly believe that this is the best period to invest, gain market share, and, therefore, strengthen your market position. How do I envision the fact that we are just renovating and will continue renovating our stores in 2015? Although the circumstances are not positive, I believe this is the best way to maintain our leadership position. Economic crises are cyclical, meaning if your company is well positioned and continues to invest sensibly during difficult and challenging times, then you can take full advantage of any potential rebound and accordingly accelerate your growth to outperform the market growth rate.

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