Micky Jagtiani, Chairman, Landmark Group
Landmark Group, the region’s leading retail and hospitality conglomerate, is poised to exceed an annual turnover of US$5 billion by 2015. The projection comes on the back of the Group’s milestone accomplishment of more than 1,000 outlets encompassing 18 million square feet of retail space across its portfolios in the Middle East and India.
The Landmark Group’s growth over the past four decades has witnessed the development of in-house brands that have emerged to become market leaders. Centrepoint, Babyshop, Splash, Shoe Mart, Lifestyle, Beautybay, Iconic, Emax, Home Centre, Q Home Décor, Max and Shoexpress are some of the home-grown products under the Group’s umbrella. In addition, Candelite, the Landmark Group’s latest retail offering, is already garnering a market positioning as the first-of-its-kind confectionery and savoury store in the Middle East.
Landmark International and Shoe Mart International, the Group’s franchise divisions, have also strategically invested in acquiring the rights of key global brands. The latest in these investments is the world-renowned Steve Madden retail franchise across the GCC.
Micky Jagtiani, Chairman, Landmark Group, said: “We started with a single Babyshop store in Bahrain in 1973 with an initial capital of US$6,000. Today, we have grown to become a major force to reckon with, in the retail space. In the first two decades, we opened a steady number of six outlets. The year 1990 proved a turning point for the Group when we shifted our headquarters from Bahrain to the UAE and opened our first Shoe Mart store. It was around the same time that we strategically decided to take on an aggressive growth path. Nearly 20 years later, we are indeed proud to have surpassed the 1,000-outlet milestone. We consider our accomplishments as a sign that we are on the right path to achieving some of our ambitious corporate objectives.”
Landmark Group’s development has been sustained by a structured expansion and diversification strategy. During the 90s, its geographical reach extended into the entire GCC region. In 1990, the Group forayed into the Indian retail industry with the Lifestyle department stores. Over the last decade, the Landmark Group has expanded its footprint in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with its entry into Egypt, Turkey and Lebanon. It has also built a presence in Jordan, Yemen, Sudan and Pakistan. The Group additionally ventured into Kenya in September 2011.
Vipen Sethi, CEO, Landmark Group, said: “The Group has registered a 28 per cent growth for the year 2010-11. From annual revenue of US$1.1 billion in 2006, we have garnered a consistent annual growth of 25 per cent every year, in the last five years.”
The Landmark Group first forayed into the hospitality and leisure industry in 1998, with the launch of Fun City. It further strengthened its portfolio by acquiring the MENA franchisee rights for Fitness First in 2011. The Group has also diversified its interests in this division by creating a budget hotel chain, Citymax Hotels.
Foodmark, its food and beverage division has joint ventures with The Meat Company in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Kuwait, as well as with Ushna in Abu Dhabi and La Gaufrette and Bazerkan in Dubai. It also operates its indigenous restaurants such as Wild Ginger, BITE Café and Zafran. Additionally, the division operates a number of internationally-franchised restaurants within the UAE and other GCC countries, including Carluccio's, Mango Tree and Mango Tree Bistro. Its newest franchise, Max’s Restaurant, is a popular brand that has redefined Filipino cuisine.
In 2011, the Group launched an Ayurveda-based holistic wellness concept - Balance Well Being 3600 – which consists of the Balance Café and the Balance Wellness Club. The concept aims to deliver wellness that is affordable to contemporary lifestyles.
Over the past four decades, the Landmark Group has built a strong base of loyal customers. The Shukran loyalty programme, which currently has over two million members in the MENA region, is a testimony to its ever growing consumer base. Its loyalty programme in India - ‘The Inner Circle’ - also commands a membership base of over two million.
The Landmark Group has a strong CSR commitment encompassing the three broad areas of community, environment and health. Through a multipronged approach, the Group undertakes a calendar of sustainability and community-based projects round the year.
Diabetes has a growing incidence worldwide. The Group’s flagship initiative - Beat Diabetes - believes that creating awareness is the first step in the battle against this condition. With this mission, Beat Diabetes walkathons and free blood glucose test have been organised in the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and India. Plans are in place to take the fight against the debilitating disease into new geographical areas this year. The first CSR Report for 2010 -11 reflects the seriousness with which the Group takes its social responsibility mandate.
“Our progress is a testimony to the hard work of the 35,000-plus employees that work with us. They have driven our operations seamlessly with absolute passion over the years. We have built strong relationships with our partners within the region and globally. On the basis of this strong people power, we aim to grow our retail footprint, expand our reach to five new countries, and introduce new brands and achieve revenue of over US$5 billion by 2015,” added Vipen Sethi.