The world’s largest British retailer chain Debenhams opened its first department store in Pakistan as part of the company’s business expansion plan worldwide.
The store opened after signing a franchise agreement with Team A Ventures, a local company that already represents other British stores.
The retailer opened in Dolmen Mall, Karachi, last week and scheduled its grand opening to be on August 2. However, the retailer would look to expand into other Pakistani cities, such as Lahore and Islamabad, if the opportunity to lease store sites arises.
“There’s a highly affluent middle class, which is growing in Pakistan, and we have also got a strong franchise partner,” Lucy Haine, the senior business manager at Debenhams International told The National on Sunday.
Debenhams has risen nearly 50 per cent on the London Stock Exchange so far during the year.
Pakistan has a population of about 170 million with only $1,200 GDP per capita; retailers expect a huge opportunity on the basis of the small part of the population that is growing in affluence.
The international professional services company Deloitte had cited Pakistan in a report last year titled "Hidden heroes: the next generation of retail markets" as being among countries which has a potential profitable market for retailers.
“The fashion market has been expanding for the last four to five years and there are strong local brands in the market,” Adnan Hamid, the general manager of Debenhams in Pakistan told The National on Sunday.
“There are so many people travellng from Pakistan to the UK. There are people coming into the store saying, 'We used to go to the UK or Dubai to shop in Debenhams,” he added.