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Al-Futtaim Group

In distinction from Marks & Spencer, Bhs seems to remain committed to its traditional classical brand image, and although recognition and stability are some of the determining features of any brand image success, this stability often borders on the lack of dynamism and the hidden resistance to change, which currently characterize Bhs in UAE markets. Since 1985, the Bhs brand has been franchised to retail enterprises all over the world; and UAE is not an exception.

At the beginning of 2006 the Middle East has become the starting point for launching a new Bhs Kids franchise, thus opening a new page of Bhs’s history in UAE (Bhs 2007). “The Middle East always remained the key focus, with stores in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Dubai and sites in Oman, Qatar and Abu Dhabi” (Bhs 2009). By launching a new brand in the Middle East the company has certainly proved its loyalty to Middle Eastern customers and has revealed its desire to promote the need for brand image changes, which would follow the changes in consumer demand.

Moreover, even with the lack of “ecological coloring”, Bhs remains among the most widely recognized British fashion brands in UAE. Moreover, where Marks & Spencer seeks to

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alter its brand image and fill it with impressionist novelty, Bhs remains unchangeably loyal to its classical image which also implies the stability and unchangeable nature of high quality products available to its customers all over the world.

In the context of promoting stability and recognition of brand image, both Marks & Spencer and Bhs place special emphasis on the role which advertising may play in moving them deeper into the Middle Eastern markets. At the edge of the new financial crisis, and without a clear vision for the future, Marks & Spencer has been experienced rapid decrease of sales all over the world, and in UAE in particular. As a result, a well-developed advertising campaign could become the source of novelty and renewal for the company’s position in the Middle East.

Fig. 1. The dynamics of Marks & Spencer sales all over the world (Accenture 2009) Through the prism of the graphic representation of Marks & Spencer’s sales, it is evident that since the beginning of 2006, with the launch of the new advertising campaign, the company has entered a new stage of its brand evolution and has been gradually reviving its status of a fashion leader in UAE. The new advertising promoted the importance of “reinstilling M&S’s core historical attributes of quality, service, and value.

Twiggy was chosen as one of the faces for its womenswear campaign – a perfect metaphor for a stylish national treasure making a spectacular comeback” (Sweney 2006). Despite the widely recognized image of Twiggy in Britain, her image was not so readily recognizable in UAE; nevertheless, the reasonable combination of artistic classicism in advertising and the presence of well known Lizzie Jagger, Erin O’Connor and Noemie Lenoir have turned Marks & Spencer’s advertising into a bright example of revolution and resurrection in UAE markets.

With the additional 20 million customers visiting Marks & Spencer stores in 2006 and 2007, the company has also come to the need for opening new stores in cooperation with Al-Futtaim Group, as well as developing its own online presentation and an online store, to make its relationships with UAE customers easier and more cost-effective (Dubai City Info 2009).

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