Jimmy Choo Doha

Jimmy Choo plans to set foot in Qatar next few months...

Shoemaker to the stars Jimmy Choo will open its first Qatar boutique in the third quarter of this year.

The footwear brand, whose exotic leather, satin and snakeskin shoes retail at $800-plus a pair, is also on course to launch its third standalone UAE store in early 2011.

In partnership with Al Tayer Group, which holds the Gulf franchise for the brand, Jimmy Choo is currently scouting for real estate in Riyadh for its third Saudi Arabian outlet, said CEO Joshua Schulman.

"The Middle East is a very strategically important region for us. One; for the client who shops here locally, but also for the travelling customer. A very important segment of our consumers in Western Europe also live here for at least part of the year, so it's a region where we see a lot of opportunity and a lot of growth to strengthen our presence," he said.

Jimmy Choo has doubled its stores in the last three years and now operates 160 outlets on five continents. In the six years since it entered the Middle East retail market, the region has become the fourth most lucrative in its portfolio.

"We've had a fantastic trajectory. We've had substantial expansion in Europe, we've had substantial expansion in the Middle East and Asia," says Schulman, who in 2007 left a role as president of Kenneth Cole New York to join the Choo brand. "We don't want to expand too much, too soon, but we really want to meet consumer demand as it develops."

A red-carpet regular, Choo footwear has become a byword for Hollywood glamour after regular mentions on cult TV series ‘Sex and The City' and in movies such as ‘The Devil Wears Prada'.

In addition to shoes, its bags price out at more than $2,000, while scarves start at $225 and sunglasses at $220.

The firm was sold in 2007 - its third sale in six years - to a group led by the private equity house TowerBrook Capital Partners. The deal, which saw TowerBrook take an 83 percent stake, valued the company at $304m. At the time of the acquisition, sales were put at $98m.

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