The Al Manara International Jewellery Boutique in Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi, ready for its formal opening
As the Abu Dhabi luxury market booms, Dubai-based luxury watch retailers, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, have entered the retail scene in Abu Dhabi, in partnership with HAMG, by strategically acquiring one of the best-known local brands, Al Manara Jewellery. Abdul Hamied Seddiqi, Vice-Chairman, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, discusses their business plans after the new acquisition
Watch connoisseurs in Abu Dhabi will be treated to a selection of their best watch brands at Al Manara International Jewellery. Abdul Hamied Seddiqi, Vice-Chairman, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons believes they can expect, “Better prices, better services, more collections and a new sales environment.”
With Abu Dhabi proving to be a fast growing market for luxury goods, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons chose to enter this market by strategically acquiring one of the best-known local brands, Al Manara Jewellery of Abu Dhabi, in partnership with HAMG and renaming it Al Manara International Jewellery.
The first phase of their retail expansion in Abu Dhabi is already under way, “We have opened three new shops in Abu Dhabi and the branches in Khalidiya and Abu Dhabi Mall have been closed for renovation until the end of the year. Within the same time frame, we will open a second branch in Al Ain Mall and another one in 2013 at Sowwah Square in the Abu Dhabi Financial Centre,” says Seddiqi.
He further reiterates that, “The opportunity to take over Al Manara has evolved over two years, resulting from very positive and friendly negotiations that also involved HAMG as our partner. The intention is that management is taken care of by Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons. Since Al Manara has a good brand image in Abu Dhabi we have retained it in renaming the company as Al Manara International Jewellery.”
He explains that HAMG is an Abu Dhabi-based diversified investment company, headed by its Chairman, Hasan Abdullah Mohamed, with a mandate to directly invest in various sectors with specific focus on the Middle East.
From its humble beginnings in 1950 as a single store in Souk Bur Dubai, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons have evolved to become the largest retailer of exquisitely designed Swiss watches in the Middle East, boasting a portfolio of over 50 prestigious brands across 52 locations in the UAE. Al Manara Jewellery, founded in 1973, is an established Abu Dhabi brand that has built up a reputation in the luxury watch market for creativity, exclusivity and service. They handle products from some of the most renowned brands in the world, including Audemars Piguet, Baume & Mercier, Chopard, Christian Dior, Harry Winston, Hublot, Officine Panerai, Patek Philippe, Piaget and Tag Heuer.
Seddiqi, who is now focusing his attention on Abu Dhabi says, “The UAE has always been a healthy market for luxury products. We have a good mix of tourists and residents as customers. In Dubai there is an increase in Chinese tourists. In fact, 2011 was a record year for us. We see a lot of potential for Abu Dhabi to also become a major tourist centre.”
Commenting on the effects of the economic downturn, Seddiqi appears unperturbed, “During the recession, though we remained conservative, we were working on our plans for expanding and taking over Al Manara. We also devoted that period for intensive training of our staff and for refurbishing some of our shops.” He adds, “We have taken some high quality people of different nationalities for After Sales Service. We want to retain our standards in luxury and continue to remain at the top when business regains the old momentum.” J