MH Alshaya Co, which operates over 55 retail brands including Starbucks, H&M, Mothercare and Debenhams, said it will expand the popcorn chain across the Middle East and may look at potential for other markets. The first Middle East branch of Garrett Popcorn Shops is expected to open in The Avenues in Kuwait later this year. Garrett Popcorn Shops, founded in Chicago in 1949, operates over 25 shops in the US as well as international locations including Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia. Alshaya, one of the Gulf’s largest family-owned firms, has an extensive franchise portfolio that includes a string of US household name food and beverage brands. The company has closed franchises in the last 18-months for the Chicago-based chain Potbelly Sandwich Shop, and a 22-outlet deal for New-York listed chain The Cheesecake Factory. The Kuwait retail conglomerate last year said it had signed a deal to launch American pancake chain IHOP in the Middle East. Alshaya will open 40 restaurants across the six Gulf states, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt by 2016, marking IHOP’s first major expansion outside the US. The firm, which operates 2,000 stores across 15 countries, said in 2010 it planned to open 1,250 new stores over the next five years, creating an estimated 4,000 jobs.

Origin source :Arabian Business
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