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DUBAI, UAE-Two years after opening its first international-licensed store in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Saks Incorporated has entered into a licensing agreement that will add four stores in the Middle East and as many as 10 in Japan in coming years.

With regard to the Middle East, the New York-based retailer says a group of businesses there have formed Style Avenue Middle East to own and operate a total of four stores in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain. Specifics for two of the stores are now known.

The first store will be located at Bur Juman Centre in Dubai. The 80,000-sf store will open in February 2004, offering exclusive designer and contemporary apparel, shoes, and accessories; fine and fashion jewelry; cosmetics and fragrances; children’s apparel; and gifts for the home. A smaller Saks Fifth Avenue “satellite” store is scheduled to open in the Landmark Shopping Center in Doha, Qatar in fall 2004. This store will offer designer handbags, accessories, cosmetics and fragrances, fine jewelry, and a small collection of designer and contemporary sportswear.

In Japan, Saks has signed a licensing agreement with Specialty Fashion Associates Japan Incorporated–a joint venture that includes leading fashion specialty store groups, a commercial facilities developer and retail consulting companies–to own and operate between five and 10 stores in major cities in Japan. The first Saks Fifth Avenue store there is scheduled to open in Tokyo in fall 2005. The 54,000-sf store will include offerings from established and emerging Japanese, European, and American designers. Details of the remaining stores have not been firmed up.

Style Avenue Middle East consists of: Al Mana Retail W.W.L, a group of diversified companies with interests in automotive, retail, investments, and real estate; The Chalhoub Group, which owns and operates free-standing boutiques including Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Christian LaCroix, and Ralph Lauren; Damas Jewellery, the largest jeweler in the UAE with over 75 locations; and Kapico Group, a partnership of the Al Ghannam and Handa families of Kuwait, which have interests in automotive, engineering and construction, healthcare, and retail.

The businesses that comprise Specialty Fashion Associates Japan Incorporated are: Shinpushachu Co. Ltd., a company jointly invested by Japanese vertical fashion leaders including Beams, Tomorrowland, and Stockman; Ask Planning Center Inc., a public company on the JASDAQ market specializing in the retail space consulting business; ILC CO. Ltd., a consulting firm for town and urban developments; and International Management Technology Corporation LLC, a management consulting business based in Stamford, CT that has arranged agreements between many Japanese and U.S. companies resulting in several businesses being developed in Japan including Circle K Convenience Stores, Nippon Steel Space World, and Fujitsu Nifty.

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