Paris Gallery, a Dubai-based perfume, cosmetics and jewelry chain announced on Thursday it has plans to open a shop in Iraq and intends to start its operations early next year. The firm also has plans to open five stores across major cities across Iraq over the next three years.
Mohamed A. R. Al Fahim, Paris Gallery CEO, said: “We’ve done extensive assessments and believe that now the country is really moving away from what it was to what it wants to be … there is great potential.” The firm has also teamed up with the Al Handle Group, an Iraqi firm established in 1975 which understands the local business environment and will run the stores on a franchise basis.
According to IMF estimates, the GDP of Iraq has doubled between 2009 and 2012. It also suggested that Iraqis now have more disposable income than before and welcome the prospect of purchasing branded cosmetics and perfumes.
Perfumes at the Paris Gallery start at $50 dollars and several cosmetics brands popular in the West will be easily available for the first time. During the 2003 U.S.-led war in Iraq, the borders with Iran and Kuwait were blocked. Hence it was difficult to get any international brands in the country.
There is, however, a lot of income inequality and the majority of Iraqis may not afford to purchase these products in near future. Iraq is still struggling to transport oil from its oil fields to the rest of the world. But William Watts, Director of Operations at Dunia Frontier Consultants said that Iraq is a good place to do business.
“Despite the last 35 years of instability, Iraqis retain their entrepreneurial instinct. They’re great at making deals, diversifying their interests, working hard and solving problems,” he said.