Qatar ranked second most straight forward country after Saudi Arabia in the Middle East region for international retailers, according to the first annual Retail International Programme Expansion (RIPE) Index, published by EC Harris, the global built asset consultancy, a release said. Saudi Arabia (8th), Qatar (11th) and the UAE (15th) all ranked highly in the report for the ease of expansion. The countries scored well for the quality of their transport infrastructure, capability of their construction supply chain and their supporting legal framework.
John Williams, Regional Leader, Middle East at EC Harris, said: "International expansion presents great opportunities for retailers experiencing low growth in their domestic markets.
"Consumer appetite for luxury international brands is strong across the Middle East, and our report suggests that retailers are able to set up much more easily here than in markets such as China or India. Successful international expansion is about balancing the desirable with the feasible. Success is down to making a careful and committed choice, maintaining realistic expectations, and making plenty of adaptations along the way."
EC Harris reports that, particularly for brands positioned at the luxury end of the market, the Middle East presents excellent opportunities to profit from the ease of delivery. One brand that has already been successful is Bloomingdales which set up its first store outside the US in 2010, anchored in the Dubai Mall in partnership with Al Tayer. Future developments in the lead up to the Qatar 2022 World Cup are also predicted to present further opportunities for retailers as several major malls come to market such as the Doha Festival City.
The RIPE index ranks 40 international retail markets according to the five key factors that have a major impact on retail expansion success including the quality of infrastructure, quality and quantity of the construction supply chain, property capability, legal framework and business environment.
The top 20 countries were ranked as follows: 1. Germany, 2. UK, 3. Canada, 4. Netherlands, 5. Japan, 6. France, 7. Australia, 8. Saudi Arabia, 9. USA, 10. Taiwan, 11. Qatar, 12. Malaysia, 13. Chile, 14. South Korea, 15. UAE, 16. Spain, 17. Portugal, 18. Thailand, 19. Uruguay and 20. China.
According to the research, Western markets such as Germany, the United Kingdom and Canada are the easiest for retailers to expand into, largely down to factors such as their open business environment, mature property capability and the availability of prime shopping locations.