FFW advises House of Fraser on first franchise in Middle East expansion

Field Fisher Waterhouse (FFW) has advised Dubai retailer investor Retail ­Arabia International (RAI) on a franchising deal to open the first House of ­Fraser in the Middle East.

Mark Abell
Mark Abell

Joint head of franchising and licensing Mark Abell led the deal for FFW, acting for longstanding client RAI.

The deal is the latest in a string of Middle East ­franchisings carried out by RAI, a venture established by investment companies Daud Arabian and Gulf General Investment.

An FFW team advised the franchising group on its deal to set up the Californian Pizza Kitchen in the Middle East and India. The firm, again with Abell leading, also acted for Hamleys on a deal that saw the ­iconic toy shop open a chain of stores in Dubai, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, operated by Daud.

Abell said: “Despite the current downturn in the Middle East, many of the markets are still quite robust and we’re still doing a lot of deals there. In terms of these ­franchising deals, we’ve done 30 or so just in the Middle East.”

The latest transaction, understood to be worth hundreds of millions of pounds, will see a House of Fraser store open its doors in Dubai in 2012 to become the first international outpost for the department store. It is expected to expand further, with stores in Cairo, Riyadh, Jeddah, Dharan, Abu Dhabi, ­Muscat and Doha already mooted.
House of Fraser was advised by in-house ­counsel on the transaction.