Virgin Testing Shop-in-Shop Retail Model in UAE

Virgin Megastores bolsters Emirates telecom brand, du, in a new partnership.

Du is the UAE’s fastest growing telecom company and it is backed by Dubai Holding. In a strategic move to advance distribution of its services, du recently partnered with Virgin Megastores, adding nearly 10 new touch points to their expanding presence in the United Arab Emirates.

This “Store within a Store” retail model proves beneficial to both du and Virgin. Virgin Megastores have shifted away from music to focus more on entertainment in a more general way that includes books, lifestyle goods, and technology. The partnership makes sense for du since they are targeting a modern, tech-savvy audience that Virgin stores tend to draw. du’s new outlets are more than just booths as they will be manned by customer service employees. du’s CEO Osman Sultan stated that:

By associating ourselves with a like-minded partner such as Virgin Megastore, a leading retail brand that shares our vision, we are today expanding our retail presence significantly throughout the UAE.  The shop in shop concept is an extension of our du Shops wherein our customers will be able to access our services, expertly aided with the help of our trained staff.

In a statement by Virgin Megastore’s president in the Middle East, Nisreen Shocair said

this venture will deliver new ways for our consumers to interact with our product offerings, by capitalising on the convergence of entertainment and technology, and the growth in retail mobility.

Having mobile-related services onsite also enables the two companies to be forward thinking in discovering new ways to integrate mobile technology into the retail experience.

While du was only established in 2006, the company currently has 43 branches in the UAE and is competing fiercely with state-owned telecom provider, Etisalat. They seem to be leveraging various UK partnerships (with Vodafone in 2009 for example) to enable them to get the upper hand over the more traditional telecom companies.

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