Saudi Arabian Wholesaler Al-Guthmi Adds High-Priced Products

December 23, 1999

Dubai, United Arab Emirates — After concentrating for many years on the low to middle price range, Mohamed O. Al-Guthmi is expanding its marketing strategy to cover medium to high price points with better fabric lines than ever before, said Ahmed Al-Guthmi, a principal. ''We're featuring fabrics for as high as $200 yet we still offer dobbies in the $5 price range, like Southern Phoenix of America,'' he said. His low-end ranges are bought from sources in Indonesia, China and Korea. ''We want to sell the entire market. Most of our fabrics are from the U.S.A., Italy and Spain.'' Al-Guthmi said that although sales in Saudi Arabia are generally stagnant, Al-Guthmi continues to grow. Now in its fortieth year of business, the company is considered by many to be the largest fabric wholesaler in the Middle East. It recently opened its twenty-fifth showroom – 5,000 square meters on four floors – on King Fahd Highway in Riyadh. The King Fahd location with its elaborate room settings may be the shape of things to come for Al-Guthmi. ''We have hired an image consulting firm to create a new, high end image for Al-Guthmi,'' he said. ''We want to offer our customers better quality, service and presentation.'' In addition, Al-Guthmi is carrying new lines, namely Nobilis Fontan, Decortex and Rubelli as well as the Saudi franchise for Versace Home Collection that will be featured in the King Fahd location. Al-Guthmi said he is the exclusive distributor of Versace Home in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. This represents Al-Guthmi's first venture into complete home lines, including Versace bedding and gift items. ''We stock ten million meters with 30,000 items,'' said Al-Guthmi. ''We feel that we have saturated the low to medium market in Saudi and now it's time for us to focus on the medium to high end market,'' he said. The company hopes to have 45 showrooms by 2005 with total sales of $140 million beyond the Gulf region in Africa and Eastern Europe. The company already has outlets in Beirut and in Yemen as well as a showroom in Dubai.

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