DSW Inc. (DSW), a branded footwear and accessories retailer in North America, signed Apparel Group as its exclusive franchise partner in the Gulf Coast. The agreement will expand DSW into Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Oman with 40 stores across the territory, starting in 2017.

DSW’s Middle East stores will be in both malls and on high street locations, with the initial stores averaging approximately 15,000 square feet and offering approximately 2,000 choices per store.

Simon Nankervis, DSW’s chief commercial officer, stated, “We are thrilled to bring DSW to new markets outside North America. DSW fills white space for fashion-minded consumers in the Middle East with our wide range of international brands at compelling value. We are excited to work with the Apparel Group, who has a track record of introducing and successfully developing international brands across the Middle East.”

Nilesh Ved, founder and chairman, Apparel Group, commented, “We look forward to launching our partnership with DSW in the Gulf region. There is a strong demand for the DSW brand in this market. With DSW’s compelling merchandise and brand recognition, coupled with our group’s marketing expertise and knowledge of the customer, we will create an incredible experience in footwear retailing in the region.”