Yoox Net-a-Porter Group has formed a joint venture with Symphony Investments, a company controlled by Mohamed Alabbar, to expand in the Middle East.
Alabbar is the chairman of Emaar Properties and Emaar Malls, and is known for developing and managing the world’s largest retail destination, The Dubai Mall.
Under the joint venture, Alabbar will focus his entire online luxury retail activity in the region through the new company, in which Yoox Net-a-Porter (YNAP) Group will hold a 60% stake and Alabbar will own 40%.
Symphony Investments will manage all of YNAP Group’s existing multi-brand stores in the region - Net-a-Porter, Mr Porter, Yoox and The Outnet - as well as selected existing and future online flagship stores in agreement with the brands.
It will operate in the Gulf Co-operation Council countries of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman initially, and may expand to other countries in the Middle East and north Africa in future.
It will have a Dubai-based office with dedicated sales and marketing, customer care and PR teams to cater for local customers, and a new distribution centre in Dubai, in addition to offering localised Arabic-language customer care, content and local currency payment methods.
The office and distribution centre will open by the end of next year. Yoox and The Outnet will launch in the Middle East in 2018, followed by Net-a-Porter and Mr Porter in 2019.