UAE e-commerce retailer Namshi launches in Qatar, first after Gulf crisis

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The United Arab Emirates-headquartered e-commerce retailer Namshi is launching in Qatar, more than a month after diplomatic ties between the two Gulf states resumed.

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The company said it will be the first e-commerce business to launch in Qatar following the Gulf crisis’ thaw.

The popular online clothing platform is accepting pre-orders in the runup to its February launch.

Relations between Qatar and the UAE deteriorated rapidly in 2017 when a consortium of Gulf states severed diplomatic and trade ties with Doha for undermining security interests in the region.

Kuwait’s foreign minister announced on Jan. 5 that Saudi Arabia would be resuming relations with Qatar. The UAE announced it would resume trade ties two days later.

An image from a promotional photoshoot for Namshi's Qatar launch. (Supplied)
An image from a promotional photoshoot for Namshi's Qatar launch. (Supplied)

COVID-19 boom

Namshi says that business has boomed since the start of the pandemic.

It has seen a “50 percent rise in business,” and a 30 percent increase in new customers as shopping habits diverted from brick-and-mortar stores towards online retailers, according to a statement.

“The trend-conscious GCC shopper is very close to our heart and we will continue to invest in infrastructure and logistics support to maximize our capability to perform as the leading online retailer in the Middle East,” said Hadi Badri of Namshi.

The Dubai-based company was founded in 2011. In 2017 retail giant Emaar Malls purchased a 49 percent stake in Namshi for $151 million (AED555 million), pushing its valuation close to $300 million (AED1,102 million).

In 2019 Emaar Malls acquired the remaining 51 percent of the company, taking full ownership.

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