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BMI View: As a less diversified economy than some of its GCC peers, Kuwait will face greater challenges
in achieving substantial growth in the environment of low commodity prices. Even though the economic
trough seems to be a thing of the past, the growth in household spending will stay relatively slow in the
market, which has traditionally benefited from its affluent residents. Nonetheless, a couple of large-scale
mall openings in 2017-2018 could reshape the whole sector by expanding and diversifying its supply.
Key Views and Developments
? Kuwait's government agreed to deregulate retail fuel market in August, which will lead to fuel price hikes
of as much as 80%. While the new prices will remain much lower than in Europe, they will add an extra
pressure for disposable incomes in the country.
? The country's fast food market retains its appeal for foreign investment. Atlanta-based Arby's unveiled a
plan to open as many as 25 stores in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in the next seven years, while Dubai-based
businessman Mohammed Alabbar acquired a majority stake in Kuwait's Americana Group, a franchisee
for KFC, Pizza Hut, Costa Coffee and Baskin Robbins.
? High-end retailers stay optimistic about Kuwait's fashion and accessories market: De Beers, Karl
Lagerfeld, MCM, Lacoste and All Saints have all opened stores in the country in the first three quarters
? We forecast that Kuwait's retail market will maintain conservative dollar value growth averaging 4.0%
during 2016-2020. Income growth will be rather anaemic, but expanding population will offset the
deficiencies in spending.
? Housing & utilities will drive the changes in household spending patterns: the sub-sector, which is bound
to grow by 5.9 percentage points before 2020, will constrain the expansion of other retail categories,
namely non-essential goods and services.