AS Watson Group Announces Franchise Agreement with Al-Futtaim

Tuesday September 8th, 2020

The world’s largest international health and beauty retailer brings Asia’s No. 1 brand Watsons to the Middle East consumers

Al-Futtaim, one of the most diversified and progressive, privately held regional businesses and AS Watson Group, the world’s largest international health and beauty retailer, jointly announced today that they have reached an exclusive franchise agreement to launch the flagship health and beauty brand Watsons in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

This is the first franchise agreement of AS Watson Group in its almost 180 years of history, and its first venture in the Middle East, adding to its established leadership in Asia and Europe.

With plans to open 100 stores in the region by the end of 2025, the first Watsons flagship will officially open in Dubai Mall, on 1 October; along with an eCommerce portal (, and a mobile app called Watsons UAE, and a Watsons loyalty programme.

Omar Al Futtaim, Vice Chairman at Al-Futtaim Group said, “As a local business operating across the globe, it is our duty to support and contribute to the economic growth of the region we belong to, while bringing quality and customer-oriented brands to our retail network. Our partnership with AS Watson Group is another milestone in our journey to further enhance both the UAE and the Middle East’s position in the world’s top retail destinations map, and we look forward to making this brand available across further locations in the region.”

Expansion plan of Watsons in the Middle East will see the opening of two outlets in Dubai Festival City Center and The Mall of the Emirates in the fourth quarter of 2020, followed by entry into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2021.

Dominic Lai, AS Watson Group Managing Director is delighted with the new venture, “We are delighted to bring Watsons to the beauty-savvy customers in the Middle East which is one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for beauty products. Al-Futtaim has impressed us with their proven experience and track record in quality management of retail brands. We are excited to partner with them to bring new offline and online beauty experience as well as numerous trendy brands to customers in the region.”

Being named Asia’s number one brand* for 12 consecutive years, Watsons is famous for its customer engagement through its 100 million member base loyalty programme and 30 million social media community; its expertise in beauty, as well as its fully integrated offline and online experience. Its promise is to make customers LOOK GOOD, FEEL GREAT every day.

*Campaign Asia-Pacific/Nielsen’s “Asia’s Top 1,000 Brands” Online Study 2020 is based on interviews with over 8,000 people across 14 markets in the Asia-Pacific region