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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 17/10/2012

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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Paris Gallery has planned to open five franchise stores in Iraq in the next three years and first one will be opened next year in Baghdad.

This was announced on Tuesday in a joint Press conference with the Al Handal International Group. The announcement was followed by the signing of a franchise agreement between Mohamed A. R. Al Fahim, chief executive officer of Paris Gallery, and Mohammed Al Handal, chief executive officer of Al Handal International Group, in the presence of General Consul General of Iraq Ismat Ageed Siddiq.

Commenting on the agreement, Ismat said: "We are very pleased with having luxury name as Paris Gallery in Iraq, we considered as a positive sign for Iraq economy."

The Al Handal International Group will open two stores in Baghdad, two in Erbil and one in Basra. In the UAE, Paris Gallery has total 40 stores under the group including boutiques and 28 Paris Gallery outlets. Outside the country the luxury retailer has additional 40 stores.

Al Fahim said: "We have been looking forward to this day, and the time is right. In the past we have had several companies who wanted to open Paris Gallery stores in Iraq, but the conditions were not favourable for us to do so. We believe in their ability to take this forward successfully in a way that will uphold the solid reputation that Paris Gallery has built over the years."

"We are in an expansion mode now. We are well set in the UAE, and strengthening ourselves in the GCC countries. We are also eagerly looking forward to the other markets in the world," he said, adding that next year will be a big year for the company as "we have many stores planned to open in different parts of the world."

Al Handal, said: "We have been looking forward to having the contracts signed and we are eager to go forward with the setting up of the first store in Baghdad."

Paris Gallery is also expanding into countries like Azerbaijan and Oman, as well as being in negotiations with potential clients in other countries. When asked about how Paris Gallery's views on the current situation in Iraq, Al Fahim said: "Iraq is in a transition phase now, moving from unstable to stable. We believe that by the time we are set to open our first store in Iraq, the situation in Iraq will have improved to a great extent."


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