• The Retail Industry in Egypt

In recent years, events have turned troublesome (even hostile) in many countries of the MENA region.

Egypt has also seen more than its fair share of political turmoil, violence, terrorist activity, crime and civil unrest.  With financial indicators plummeting, one would expect that the retail industry and especially luxury brands would suffer major blows and would be reluctant to extend their stay or expand.

However, this is not the case.  Egypt, and especially Cairo, is home to malls but most importantly it features all major luxury brands that appear to be making especially well in terms of sales and are eager to expand while other luxury brands are ready to be launch their introduction to the local market.

Consumption, as an integral part of everyday life, is linked to social unrest (or even disintegration) through two main mechanisms explained below:

  • Consumption Explained

People consume to fulfil their needs.  Their needs, however, are socially constructed and can therefore be manipulated to fit the supply rather than the other way around.  All items and services can be seen as having two layers of value, the most basic one is what they can do for the client (actual use – intrinsic value), the second layer is what how they make the client feel (emotional attributes – symbolic value).  Luxury items’ intrinsic value diminishes during socially troubled times while symbolic value sky rockets and this is what sustains (or even grows the industry) during times of political and civil upheaval.

What is more, luxury goods (or any product or service) is also a means to communicate to the world, a testament, a symbol.  Brands are charged with imagery, meaning, and connotation.  What we wear, carry, use, provides a statement to the world about who we are and what we believe in, but it also shapes the reality in which we operate and our social understanding of what is happening.  Things can’t be that bad if we can still walk into the mall and buy a 15.000 USD handbag, can they?

What better way to convey a sense of normalcy and a sense of order and social stratification than promoting consumption of non-essential products and services.  However, there are special points of interest that should be addressed before any luxury brand established a long-term and successful presence:

  • A thorough understanding of the local society, social dynamics, local politics, customs & culture.
  • Consulting services that will range from location selection to store layout (and anything in between).
  • Risk Management & Risk Mitigation tailor made for the industry.
  • A continuous flow of information locally and also some specialised reporting for events pertaining to the industry.
  • Support services for all employees, guests, executives while travelling or visiting or for special events (shows, exhibitions, VIP events etc.).
  • On occasion, some competitive intelligence might be needed, although it should be noted that major brands when present in hostile environments, turn to form mutually supportive clusters as the presence or multiple luxury brands helps to sustain the consumption narrative as well as a pretext of economic and social growth and stability.
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    What the Consultancy has to offer:

  • Provide solid analysis and information for hostile environments.
  • Provide strategic overview of expansion plans for less-than-optimal social or political environments.
  • Provide on the ground support for executives, employees, guests or even clients.
  • Provide streams of information pertinent to local conditions and unfolding situations.
  • Provide consulting services for risk management & crisis management plans.
  • Provide specialised training for awareness & risk/crisis management.
  • Provide competitive intelligence & intelligence pertinent to industry related incidents.
  • Provide the tools necessary to sustain the narrative of the industry.
  • Monitor social media trends, identify patterns, forecast developments pertaining to the industry.