Apparel and footwear specialist retailers declined in current value terms in 2018, affected by the economic slowdown due to the implementation of VAT and a general increase in the cost of living, leading consumers to be more careful about their spending patterns. They preferred to make planned purchases and tried to evaluate options.
Due to economic restructuring and the emergence of Saudization, channels such as apparel and footwear specialist retailers will be impacted. While many players welcomed the move, certain challenges must be addressed with regards to customer service during the transition period.
Both female and male consumers in Saudi Arabia tend to stay up to date with the latest global fashion trends, which is supported by high internet penetration in the country. Customers frequently follow social media bloggers and celebrities from both the Arab and Western worlds for inspiration and thus they are not only up to date with the latest product launches but also with the latest trends.
Key local franchisers remained the most important entity for foreign investors in apparel and footwear specialist retailers in Saudi Arabia. Al Bandar Trading Co continued to lead the channel with franchise rights for brands by Landmark Group, Max/City Max and Splash as well as international brands such as Bossini, Koton and Steve Madden.
To boost sales, most leading brands placed regular promotions and discounts throughout the year, especially during the second half of 2018. Efforts were made to entice customers by placing tempting deals and offers.
Internet retailing continues to gain wider adoption and this will be supported by improved transportation and logistics networks. Consumers find online shopping sites convenient as they enable them to save time and avoid busy shopping centres.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Retailing market research database.