Dune Enters Libya

The Dune Group is stepping up its international presence.

The British footwear retailer opened its first North African franchise store with a local partner in Tripoli, Libya’s capital. The store, located on Gargaresh Street, bowed earlier this month.

“Libya is in the middle of a strong period of growth following the removal of international sanctions some years ago and the freedom to trade,” said Dune Executive Chairman Daniel Rubin. “We know from our Middle East expansion that our shoes are highly desired in that region and have also seen a number of other retailers open successful stores in Tripoli. We are delighted with our [revenues] to date and expect to open two more stores by 2012.”

He estimated that The Dune Group’s growing international division would see sales of $77.9 million over the next three years.

The move into Libya follows the launch of Dune’s first franchise store in Poland in June, where further stores are planned for later this year. A second franchised Moscow store opened in July and a three more new Russia stores are set to bow later this year, including a third Moscow store in the city’s Vegas Mall, as well as in St. Petersburg and Kazan. Dune also will open its first store in Saudi Arabia later this year, and, Rubin said, he is considering launching in Malta, Australia and the U.S.

“Some of our leading international competitors, such as Aldo and Nine West, have a strong presence in the U.S., and we see no reason why we cannot compete with them there,” he said. “Of course, we need to research the market well and be careful [about] where we locate the first stores, but we believe we have the skills to build a strong business.”

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