Cold Stone Planning 40 Locations Throughout Middle East
(Thursday, February 15, 2007) - Cold Stone Creamery Tuesday announced it has reached an agreement with an international retail firm to open more than 40 stores in the Middle East over the next five years.
Cold Stone Creamery reached the deal with Apparel Group to open those stores in the Gulf Cooperative Council, which includes the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Jordan.
The Scottsdale-based company plans to open its first store in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, by May of this year and hopes to open in Saudi Arabia by year end.
"We are truly excited to partner with the Apparel Group to launch Cold Stone Creamery in the Middle East and to bring the ultimate ice cream experience to Dubai as early as May," said Lee Knowlton, president of international and new business development for Cold Stone Creamery. "They are incredible retail operators and share the same desire we do; to make people happy around the world."
Based in the United Arab Emirates, The Apparel Group works to bring quality international brands and the latest trends in contemporary designs to Middle Eastern markets. Currently, the group has grown to include 29 international brands from the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and the Far East, and continues to target other various markets. The company now operates nearly 230 stores in several Middle Eastern and Asian countries. Additionally, it plans to enter emerging markets such as Saudi Arabia, Russia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Indonesia, Pakistan and the Philippines.
"It is an honor and privilege to be associated with Cold Stone Creamery, the 'ultimate ice cream experience,' and we are very proud to bring the same experience of customer enjoyment across the Middle East," said Apparel Group Chief Executive Nilesh Ved.
Cold Stone Creamery opened its first store in Tempe in 1988 and its first international store in the Roppongi Hills complex in Tokyo, Japan, in November 2005. Since its
international arrival, the company has served more than 1 million ice cream lovers through its eight Japanese stores and thousands of others through its four Korean stores.
In addition to its latest announcement, Cold Stone also plans to open international stores in Indonesia and Mexico and is exploring many other international markets. The company was ranked No. 14 in the January 2007 "Franchise 500" issue of Entrepreneur magazine.
With such aggressive expansion plans, Cold Stone is taking a bite out of the $20.7 billion U.S. ice cream industry with reported 2006 system-wide revenues exceeding $471 million, up 15 percent over 2005.
Cold Stone Creamery is an independently owned franchise system with 1,400 stores in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, Japan and Korea. For more information about Cold Stone Creamery, visit the company's Web site at www.coldstonecreamery.com.
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