Christopher Adams

Christopher Adams is the Markets and Banking reporter for the New Zealand Herald

Middle East hot for Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin Patch says Middle East consumers are less accustomed to buying on promotion than those in New Zealand.
Pumpkin Patch says Middle East consumers are less accustomed to buying on promotion than those in New Zealand.

Pumpkin Patch says it could open up to 40 more stores across the Middle East, a lucrative region for children's clothing retailers where big families are the norm.

The company's two Middle Eastern partners already operate 50 Pumpkin Patch and two Charlie & Me (a sub-brand) outlets in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon.

And those partners are in the process of rebranding 23 stores that have been operating under another childrenswear brand to Charlie & Me.

The company said its partners saw a "long-term opportunity" to open 30 to 40 additional stores in existing Middle Eastern markets.

Pumpkin Patch's general manager of international business, Dominique De Give, said Saudi Arabia - where families with up to nine children were common - was a particularly strong market for the Auckland-based retailer. "When people come in to buy clothing they oftentimes buy three of the same outfit for three different children."

The region also offers Pumpkin Patch some respite from the margin-sapping discounting it has had to contend with in Australasia.

When the company reported a 98 per cent drop in half-year net profit to just $106,000 last month it said discounting in New Zealand and Australia was one of the pressures it faced.

De Give said Middle Eastern consumers were less accustomed to buying on promotion than those in Australia and New Zealand. Pumpkin Patch stores in the region ran a "more traditional model" of mid-season and end of season sales, she said.

When announcing the half-year result Humphries said Pumpkin Patch was seen as a premium brand by consumers in markets outside Australasia, such as the Middle East, which accounts for roughly a third of the retailer's international sales.

"The more I have seen of our international markets the more excited I am about the opportunities that exist for us offshore," Humphries said.

"For this reason I am taking a very international view of the future."

Pumpkin Patch, which closed its stores in Britain and the United States after the global financial crisis, first entered the Middle East in 2005.

Pumpkin Patch

• First entered the Middle East in 2005.

• 50 Pumpkin Patch and two Charlie & Me outlets in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon.

• Partners see a long-term opportunity to open 30 to 40 additional stores in existing Middle Eastern markets.

Focus on the Middle East

Tomorrow: Kiwi manufacturers Framecad and Pultron Composites grow Middle Eastern sales.

- NZ Herald

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