Al-Futtaim sells RHS to GMG

AL-FUTTAIM is selling local sports retail powerhouse, Royal Sporting House (RHS). Al-Futtaim is the parent company of Singapore department store operator, Robinsons. They will be selling RHS to UAE based Gulf Marketing Group (GMG). GMG will review and may “recalibrate” the sports retailer’s physical presence.

By acquiring one of the largest multi-brand sports retailers in the region, the UAE-based group will expand its reach to new markets. For instance, these markets include Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. RHS currently has more than 700 million customers globally.

“This expansion is a strategic step in taking our business and vision global,” said Mohammad A Baker, deputy chairman and CEO of GMG. Above all, GMG wishes to extend its presences in South East Asia.

Both GMG and RHS from humble beginnings

Dubai’s, GMG is one of the world’s largest distributors of Nike products globally. GMG oversees a diverse portfolio of international brands and homegrown concepts across key industry sectors. Sectors include firstly sports equipment, property, healthcare and even logistics.

GMG was founded in Dubai, UAE in 1978 by the Baker family. The company has grown to become a global powerhouse. They have brought more than 90 brands to the middle east region. And, grown local brands in the process. Estimates put GMG value at slightly over USD 1 billion.

RSH was founded by M. S. Gill in Indonesia in 1935. In 1969, Gill set up a base in Singapore for buying and sourcing goods for his Indonesian business. His son, Jagdev Singh Gill (J. S Gill), settled in Singapore in 1978 to help out at their first retail outlet at High Street Centre, which was opened in 1975. He later ventured out on his own, and established his first retail store, also called Royal Sporting House, selling sports merchandise in Lucky Plaza shopping centre in 1979. RHS owners in recent years have included Mohammed Alabbar and Al-Futtaim Group. The company name once had particular resonance with golf enthusiasts. However, these days it has expanded its base into more sporting lines. The firm boasts 1,100 stores in 12 countries.

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