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There may be no more troubled region on the planet that the Middle East, and Planet Retail has released a fascinating report detailing the existing business climate there and the opportunities for growth.

“In terms of total retail sales, Iran is the largest market, followed some way behind by Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE),” Planet Retail reports. “Looking at retail sales per capita, however, presents a different picture. The UAE, Israel, Kuwait and Qatar lead the field – not surprising since these are the states that have had most success in ensuring that modernisation and diversification have led to a higher standard of living for most of its citizens. This in turn has led to the development of the retail trade as well as attracting foreign investment into the sector. In contrast, the countries with the lowest retail sales per capita, namely Syria and Yemen, are those where economic reform has been limited or yet to take off, due to either political instability or severe economic problems. There are few major retail chains in these markets.”

Furthermore, “In many of the more developed markets, the Middle Eastern food retail sector has made great strides with modern supermarkets and hypermarkets becoming increasingly important. It is fair to say that in some countries, such as Israel for example, the food retail sector is barely recognisable from that of even a decade ago.”
And, “as a result of increased travel to Europe and North America, Middle Eastern consumers have become more aware of Western brands, quality, prices and shopping environment. This has done much to produce higher expectations among shoppers.”

Ominously, Planet Retail notes that the report looks at the 12 countries in the Middle East region -- but not Iraq, for which information is almost “non-existent.”
KC's View:
Good stuff. And timely.

To obtain a copy of this report, or learn more about the numerous comprehensive reports published by M+M Planet Retail, go to