Trading in the GCC

Trading in the GCC

M.H. Alshaya Co. is a leading international franchise operator for over 70 of the world’s most recognised retail brands including Starbucks, H&M, Mothercare, Debenhams, American Eagle Outfitters, P.F. Chang’s, The Cheesecake Factory, Victoria’s Secret, Boots, Pottery Barn, and KidZania. The company operates over 3,000 stores across diverse customer sectors: Fashion and Footwear, Health and Beauty, Food, Optics, Pharmacy, Home Furnishings, and Leisure and Entertainment. 


Alshaya’s stores can be found in markets across the Middle East and North Africa, Russia, Turkey, and Europe, and the company employs more than 44,000 people of over 110 nationalities. 


The company has established itself as the industry leader across these territories through a combination of local market understanding and a comprehensive commitment to customer service. Growth in each of its operating divisions and brands is supported by continuous investment in talent and infrastructure. It applies best practices in retail operations, merchandising, marketing, information technology, logistics, real estate, human resources, and financial controls. 


The trade arm of the group is a turnkey offering of products and services that extends across many parts of the trading and construction industry. Storage systems and supermarket solutions are its largest division, and it covers the entire GCC.

Alshaya Trading has more than 25 showrooms across the region, servicing end-users and projects alike, and sells the commercial kitchens found in hotels, restaurants, and schools. Many of the most prominent food chains in the GCC have kitchens installed by Alshaya Trading. The company also supplies office furniture and interiors for schools, universities, hospitals, and offices. Based on the space that is available, specialist’s design, deliver, and install the optimal solution.

All of the company’s products are of American or European origin, including a German kitchen supplied under the Kitchenhaus concept with, 12 stores, soon expanding to 35. The company had a strategy from the very beginning that it would only work with the best manufacturers available, which is why European and US manufactures are preferred.

The strength of the company is its dedicated team of employees, and it aims to hire only the best. It attracts people with ease thanks to Alshaya’s strong brand and trusted name, with the trading division having operated for around 70 years. The company has people who have been with it for 25 years and more.


Alshaya Trading has a good name as an employer which helps it to attract good people. The business rewards good performance and has a very strong incentive scheme. It also tries to ensure its employees are operating within good working environments, and give them a clear career path with opportunities to grow. Most of the managers have come from sales backgrounds, grown into sales managers, and then developed their managerial capabilities and become division managers.

The company aims for increased efficiency in its recruitment strategy, utilising online tools such as social media, and improving communication to ensure that it is well-known as a good employer. The company says that employees tend to stay for a long time, as the company fights hard to retain its best talent: it is not necessarily a matter of salary, but of giving people the right conditions and the right responsibilities.

Alshaya Trading maintains very strong relationships with its suppliers, ensuring loyalty and the creation of value for the manufacturers. It sees itself as an extension of the manufacturer. By creating value for suppliers, it prevents them from seeking other companies. It is a trend across most of the markets today in the GCC – some of the manufacturers go directly to the market because margins are under pressure in such a highly competitive area. Alshaya Trading has to make sure that it adds value to products before they reach the market, and it does this through the knowledge, skills, and market value understanding of its employees.

Alshaya Trading has recently conducted a restructuring of its organisation, changing the operational model of the business from a country focus to a vertical divisional structure. The company believes that within each division lies the opportunity to utilise the knowledge and synergy that exists between people who work within the same market segments, like construction projects. It is an important way to make sure the business actually innovates and improves its service and products to the customers. Moreover, there is a specification team that sits on top of each division requiring to create collaboration between them.

The company decided to optimise its extensive supply chain, building stronger ties with the supply chain partners. Its strategy now is to work more in-depth with each supply partner it has, which puts a greater strain on the business because it has to proactively go out, persuade, and sell the product that it believes is the strongest in the market.

Alshaya Trading employs 250 sales people on the street every day providing all the in the GCC customers with expert knowledge, and they are trained to be the first point of contact for customers, supported by a vast team of specialist designers, estimators, and technical services staff. It has one of the strongest teams of any trading company in the GCC.

The business believes that it can really offer its customers a good service, and it is sending some very strong brands into the market. It tries to make sure the customers can go and see the manufacturing facilities in the US or Europe when it has big projects that are supported by that. In the end, the manufacturers are the specialists.

The strategic direction of the company is to penetrate current market with current products and services. It is important for Alshaya Trading to add value to its customers and suppliers.