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Tags: Watar | Harrods | trendy | sale

Qatar Pays $2.2 Bln for Trendy Harrods

Monday, 10 May 2010 09:58 AM EDT

LONDON - Qatar Holding LLC’s 1.5 billion-pound ($2.2 billion) purchase of Harrods Ltd. may herald more investment in the industry as foreign buyers take advantage of a consumer-spending revival and a falling pound.

Qatar’s agreement on May 8 to buy London’s best-known store from the family trust of Mohamed Al-Fayed is the biggest deal in U.K. retailing since the 11.1 billion-pound takeover of Alliance Boots Plc in 2007, Bloomberg data show. There were about $1 billion of transactions in all of 2009.

“Harrods is an important landmark on the London and British retail scene,” said Armando Branchini, vice president of Milan-based consulting firm Intercorporate. “The Qatari fund’s investment will stimulate the entire system.”

Foreign investors are expanding in the U.K. as retail spending recovers after the worst recession on record drove unemployment to a 16-year high. Best Buy Co. said last month it plans to open as many as 150 stores in the country while Wal- Mart Stores Inc.’s Asda chain will extend its Living stores to 150 outlets within five years and add supermarkets.

The Harrods sale follows an announcement this month by Liberty Plc, the 135-year-old U.K. luxury retailer, that it received approaches from BlueGem Capital Partners LLP and an unidentified third party. Other upscale stores in London owned by non-U.K. investors include Harvey Nichols Group Plc, controlled by Hong Kong entrepreneur Dickson Poon. Selfridges Plc was bought by Canadian billionaire Galen Weston.

“I can assure you that Qatar Holding will do their best to upgrade this monument to make it even greater and better for the tourism and also for the British people,” Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jasim Bin Jaber Al-Thani told reporters at the luxury store yesterday.

To read full Business Week story — Go Here Now.

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Monday, 10 May 2010 09:58 AM
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