Fortnum & Mason opens first store in the UAE
London's Fortnum & Mason has launched its first standalone shop in the Middle East in the UAE, amidst controversy about the sale of foie gras in its store.
The new three-storey store, spread across 9,400ft2, is located adjacent to The Address in Downtown Dubai and opened towards the end of March. It is managed in conjunction with Al Khayyat Investments (AKI), which operates the Middle Eastern franchises of a number of brands in several industries.
"This is a momentous event in the history of Fortnum's," said Fortnum & Mason chief executive Ewan Venters.
He added: "We have always been outward-looking by nature, and have a tradition of serving customers around the world, so when the chance came along to secure such a fabulous site in such an important destination, it was just too good to resist.
"We feel the mix of Fortnum's traditions and the vibrancy of Dubai will be a powerful combination. Also, there's the fact that tea, for which Fortnum's is renowned, is the drink of choice for many people in the Middle East. We are also pleased to be working with AKI, who have a strong reputation for delivering high-quality customer experience in the region."
James Bond star Sir Roger Moore had earlier made a plea to Emiratis to boycott the new Fortnum & Mason store in Dubai over its sale of foie gras, and the brand quickly said the store in the UAE was never going to sell this product. Further investigation by Caterer Middle East was carried out on whether foie gras is halal or not, following PETA's claim that it wasn't.
At the UAE venue, the ground floor is the retail space, and resembles the famous Fortnum’s food hall, consisting of tea, biscuits, jams, sweetmeats and chocolates. Daily in-store tastings of jam and tea will take place and customers will also be able to choose from a range of hampers as well as create their own with the 'Bespoke Hamper Service'.
On the first floor is 'The Tea Salon', which is inspired by the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon in Piccadilly London. On the top floor is the 'Ice Cream Parlour', where Fortnum's signature ice cream, the Knickerbocker Glory, is served.
Each restaurant has a large terrace offering a bird’s-eye view of the Dubai Mall Fountain.
AKI retail division CEO Jonathan Knight said: "We are privileged to be working with Fortnum & Mason in establishing its first store overseas. Fortnum & Mason is recognised worldwide for offering luxury products and services, and we are thrilled that these are now available to residents of Dubai and the UAE, and to the millions of visitors to the area. We look forward to a strong and enduring relationship with Fortnum & Mason."
The company opened its second store in Britain in November last year, having previously operated a single outlet for 307 years. Founded by a footman to Queen Anne in 1707 in the London neighbourhood of Piccadilly, Fortnum’s has had a long association with the Royal Households and today holds two Royal Warrants for Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Prince Of Wales.