Chalhoub Group Expands Into Fine Jewelry and Watches

DUBAI — Chalhoub Group has signed a partnership with French jewelry brand Korloff to relaunch its retail presence in the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain. They plan to have five stores across the region.

This is the first step in a new growth strategy for the company, which recently added watches, jewelry and eyewear as a key new vertical.

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Michael Chalhoub, president of joint ventures and Strategy, Growth, Innovation & Investment for Chalhoub Group, emphasized the importance of this new pillar within the company. The Chalhoub Group went through a restructure a year and a half ago with Michael, third generation in the family business, leading growth and investment. He said they have a three-year strategy coined “Bold,” which is to expand into new categories where they can be the market leaders.

“We have always catered to all our customers’ fashion needs and now we are looking for new categories that will enthuse her. High jewelry was not particularly on our radar in the decades preceding. Today it has become very strategic for the group. It’s not just a tactical. We have developed a new vertical where we are aiming to become the market leaders.”

In a market report on personal luxury released earlier this year by the Chalhoub Group’s research division, the high jewelry and luxury watches segment in the Gulf countries was reported to be worth $3.9 billion in 2021, jumping by 16 percent since 2019. Estimates indicate the segment would grow another 8 percent by next year.

Bassam Azakir, chief executive officer of Korloff, said the Middle East represents 25 percent of the company’s revenue and its a market unlike any other they operate in. “This is a unique market, with high [per capita] consumption in our category. A consumer will buy four watches a year here in the Middle East when in France that customer will buy once in five years. The jewelry business is an occasion business in the Europe. Here it’s for the customer’s own pleasure.”

He added that they have a different marketing approach as well. “In high jewelry an influencer doesn’t usually convert, but in the Middle East, there are young people with disposable income so the approach is different.”

The addition of Korloff to the jewelry division is a first step for the group, which also has had a partnership with Chaumet for many years in the Middle East, which they will continue to grow.

What’s next? “We were already lucky to have strong partnership and ties to the LVMH Group and their portfolio brands,” said Chalhoub, hinting at a natural course of growth to bring in more watch and jewelry brands into the region.

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