Crate and Barrel to Open Middle East Stores

Home furnishings retailer Crate and Barrel has entered into a franchise agreement with franchise specialist Al Tayer Group LLC to open stores in the Middle East in 2010.

Initial plans call for the multi-channel home furnishings retailer to open stores in Dubai's Mall of the Emirates and Mirdif City Centre. These units will be managed and operated by Al Tayer Trends, Al Tayer Group's lifestyle retail company.

"Dubai represents an excellent growth opportunity and launching pad to extend our brand internationally," said Barbara Turf, ceo of Crate and Barrel. "It is a robust retail market, with many similarities to U.S. retail—state-of-the-art shopping malls, high-profile global brands and a diverse and sophisticated customer base. We are fortunate in our franchise partner, Al Tayer Group, who brings tremendous operational expertise and resources to our collaboration."

Added Khalid Al Tayer, coo, Al Tayer Group: "We are pleased to bring the Crate and Barrel franchise to the region and are confident that the brand's unique product mix, coupled with our regional retail expertise, will create a successful value proposition for customers."

Crate and Barrel's news comes on the heels of competitor Williams-Sonoma Inc.'s recent announcement of its similar plans to open stores in the Middle East next year. Via a multi-year franchise agreement with M.H. Alshaya Co. W.L.L., the six-nameplate high-end home furnishings retailer will open four units — under its Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids brands — in Dubai and Kuwait.

Crate and Barrel was founded in 1962 by Gordon and Carole Segal, who worked directly with European ateliers and factories to import their pro ducts. Today, the Crate and Barrel family of brands includes its more modern offshoot, CB2, and children's home furnishings retailer The Land of Nod. Crate and Barrel is a privately held company owned by the Otto Group of Hamburg, Germany.

Al Tayer Group is a diversified regional business established in 1979. Headquartered in Dubai, UAE, the Group currently operates in 12 countries in the Middle East and beyond, with more than 7,500 employees of 88 nationalities. It has built operations in multiple sectors, including retail, automotive, distribution, engineering and contracting and services.

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