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Badri set to flick the switch in UAE

UAE conglomerate establishes new electronics retail brand

New consumer electronics and household appliances power retailer Switch Electronics unveiled its first store in Dubai’s Lamcy Plaza last month, coinciding with the start of the Dubai Shopping Festival.

Boasting 4, 000 square feet of retail space, the mall-based outlet is the first of five multi-brand, multicategory stores planned for the UAE market.

Owned and operated by the Badri Group of Companies, Switch Electronics’ Lamcy Plaza store will serve as a ‘prototype’ for the company’s future retail developments.

The store will showcase products across the AV, IT, notebook PC, telecommunications and home appliance categories, sourcing many brands from sister-company, UAE consumer electronics distributor Eros Group.

However, Rahul Misra, senior manager of Switch’s retail division, stressed it would not source product exclusively from Eros.

“The store will showcase over 35 of the top brands in each market segment,” he said. “We are committed to meeting consumer demand for the best brands and products in the industry. This approach is fundamental if you want to succeed in the UAE, which boasts a very competitive retail sector.”

Misra said this open policy extended to the company’s approach to developing the Switch retail concept and refining its in-store customer service standards.

“Switch is the first multi-branded consumer electronics store to open in Lamcy Plaza. As a result, we are planning to further customise our service offering and product portfolio in response to feedback we receive from our customers.

“We aim to apply this strategy to developing future stores. Customer convenience and quality service are lynchpins of our strategy.”

Misra said the company planned to open additional stores in Abu Dhabi and Dubai within the next three months, with a further outlet scheduled to open in Sharjah before the end of the year.

He also anticipates the company will look to open an additional outlet in Dubai in early-2008.

Misra explained that while the company expected its Dubai-based outlets to account for 60% of its business in the UAE, it also predicted that Abu Dhabi would hold great potential for commercial growth.

“We are very keen to establish a presence in Abu Dhabi as quickly as possible, because we believe it holds greater potential for rapid growth than Dubai, which is reaching market saturation,” he said.

Despite its reputation as an ‘emerging’ retail market we predict that our forthcoming Abu Dhabi outlet will contribute 20% of our overall profit in the coming year.”

Misra said that while Switch had no plans at present to expand its presence outside of the UAE, it did not rule out venturing into neighboring GCC markets in the future.