Kuwait the 9th most emerging retail market

Posted by Mark

Kuwait: Continuing its slow climb. Kuwait (9th) rises three spots as its economy grows steadily and outlook remains favorable amid increasing consumer spending and a greater presence of international retailers.

In line with an optimistic economic outlook for 2013, the retail sector is expanding and demand for retail space is growing despite expensive real estate. The country’s largest mall, The Avenues, opened its phase-three extension in 2012, and other developments, such as the Gate Mall, are opening their doors in 2013. The country’s mostly urban and suburban population has high levels of disposable income, and Kuwaitis are drawn to luxury products and high-end concepts. The Avenues’ new extension includes a street area of high-end standalone shops to cater to this luxury demand.

Kuwait is typically the second MENA location (after the UAE) for international brands. International retailers Cheesecake Factory, Victoria’s Secret, and COS entered in 2012 with franchise agreements with Kuwaiti retailer M.H. Alshaya Co. Prada opened its second Kuwait store at The Avenues in early 2013.

While the luxury market remains bright, Kuwait is a difficult environment in sectors with slim margins. In grocery, for example, large and well-established retailers (such as Sultan Center, City Centre, and Casino), expensive retail estate, and limited space for expansion pose obstacles for entry by foreign grocery retailers.

It’s all very interesting but I’m more interested to know where this Casino is located please. [Link]

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Kuwaiti Business: Sebs Cheer Apparel

Posted by Mark

A few days ago I found out one of my friends (Abdulwahab Alansari) has the strangest/coolest/wtf/successful/creative local business which I thought would be amazing to share as an example of how local businesses don’t have to be all about cupcakes and burgers.

My friend manufactures cheer leading outfits in Kuwait for the UK market.

I thought he was pulling my leg at first but turns out it’s true. Back when he was in university in Liverpool he used to coach their gymnastics and cheerleading team and he was really good at it helping them go from an average team to a team that would come in first place in two out of the three annual competitions. Cheerleading kits in the UK were very over priced and of low quality so he did some research and decided to manufacture his own kits so he could help out his team. Ironically though, his team only placed an order for kits just 8 months back… after supplying over 5,000 kits over a period of 2 years to other universities and private clubs. In fact his small Kuwait based business now supplies 30-50% of UK universities and well over 30 private clubs. His clients include all the universities in Liverpool as well as the big ivy league unis in the UK like Oxford University.

Sebs Cheer Apparel don’t design outfits although they do help teams with elements of their design. Their main focus is manufacturing the outfits with the fabrics ordered from suppliers in LA, China and sometimes Kuwait. The outfits are all manufactured locally and then shipped to the various teams in the UK.

The name “Seb” was Wahabs alter ego and what most people in the “cheer world” knew him as. It’s that recognition that got him his first 10 clients since coaches and athletes he worked with respected him as an athlete and knew he would do a good job of getting efficient kits out. The business started off small with him supplying people he knew but soon word of mouth spread and more and more universities wanted to do business with him.

So there you have it, an interesting and successful small Kuwaiti business that doesn’t involve cupcakes. If you want to find out more about his business you can check out the following links:


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On their way to die

Posted by Mark

The Daily Mail has photos and an article about the two executions that were carried out yesterday. Their article also has over 900 comments so far with the majority of the commentators praising the executions. Here are some of the “Best Rated” comments on the article:

Well – THEY won’t be raping and killing again… what a concept!
- John

Nice one Kuwait …… hanging is the ‘green option’…. hardly any carbon footprint.
- Captain Calamity

Rape a child, you need to die. Period.
- farsideoftheworld

People may say that it’s inhuman and barbaric, but crimes like these are very rare in Kuwait due to the death penalty. Sadly in this Country of ours, there are no deterrents for any crime!
- UK was great

Now why can’t we do the same here in Britain.
- david

Check out the photos, article and all the comments [Here]

Thanks Kashif

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Undercover Cops

Posted by Mark

Two days ago I was parked at the traffic light on the Gulf Road before KFC heading to Kuwait City when a cop in a tracksuit walked out onto the road towards a Ford Mustang that was a couple of cars in front of me. I recognized he was a cop because he was wearing a fluorescent orange vest with the words “POLICE” printed on it plus it looked like he was wearing his badge on a necklace.

Last night I was dropping a friend off near Holiday Inn Salmiya when I noticed a checkpoint on the opposite side of the road with cops again dressed in casual civilian clothing with the same fluorescent orange vest and badges hanging around their necks.

Not sure why they’re in civilian clothing but my guess is it’s connected to the recent crackdown. I’ve been hearing a lot of stories recently in regards to the crackdowns and it’s hard to tell what is real and what is just a rumor. Fajer has been trying to find out more in regards to that but she’s been facing difficulty as well.

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In Pictures: Kuwait’s people ‘without’

Posted by Mark

Al Jazeera is featuring some great black and white photos of the bidoon community in Kuwait with all the photos taken by award winning photographer, Greg Constantine. Check them out [Here]

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A new sinkhole on road 40

Posted by Mark

A friend of mine called me earlier tonight from Bneider telling me that the road was blocked towards Saudi near the Starbucks rest stop because of a new sinkhole in the road. I found the picture above via the almubarkia blog showing the hole. This is the second sinkhole on the 40 this year, the first one was back in February.

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Failaka circa 1985

Posted by Mark

Tons of photos taken on Failaka back in 1985. Not sure if any of the archeological finds are still there or in the same state since the last time I was on the island was back in 1989. [Link]

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Clarification on the Ghost House

Posted by Mark

A reader left the comment below under on of the old posts:

I will clear everything at the current moment, this house belongs to my dad’s uncle. In the Late 50′s all four brothers built quite similar houses, 4 of them to be exact, One in Shamiya, Two in Daiya and one in Salmiya (the one posted). Three of them were lived in and the fourth was made a diwaniya (the one in Salmiya). All the houses have been demolished and still are held by the same owners. They were two toned, white and blue. The only one left is in AlDaiya you could visit it, holds the same desgin. The house is not haunted, it was held on a valuable location that at the time it was impossible to forecast how much it was worth. How could people lower the prices of such a land create rumors about it. The family kept away from media and didnt care about any rumors. Since it was a sharp location

So basically the reason the house was vacant for all this time was because it wasn’t being used anymore and the owners were just waiting for the right time to sell it and not because the house was haunted.

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Kuwait getting worse when it comes to corruption

Posted by Mark

The 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index is out and Kuwait has dropped down a few places over the previous year. Kuwait is now ranked in 66 place when it was previously ranked in 54. Qatar and UAE are both tied in 27th place as the least corrupt countries in the GCC. You can check out the full list [Here]

Thanks Patrick

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Maid in the trunk

Posted by Mark


A reader sent me the picture above of what looks like a maid sitting in the trunk of the car. #wtf

Thanks Phil via @WaleedAlsubaie

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