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News 9

Qatar-owned Harrods lures rich with $50m makeover

Drivers along Dubai's Sheikh Zayed Road, used to adverts plugging international luxury retail names, now see a locally-owned brand decorating billboards as they drive down the strip.

The advert featuring Harrods, the luxury London department storesnapped up by the Qatari royal family in 2010, plays into a campaign to ramp up the store's appeal to wealthy tourists - including some of its highest spenders: GCC shoppers.

"There are a lot of areas in Harrods that are more geared around domestic tourists and that may change as the UK domestic tourist drops off and international tourism grows - I think capitalising on that is key," said Jonathan De Mello, retail analyst at London-based CBRE.

"It's not just a case of [attracting] Middle East or Gulf customers; it's also a wider expansion to…high-net-worth individuals in growing markets; the Chinese, the Nigerians and the Thais are apparently the next big thing in relation to growth customers."

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