The Dubai-listed retailer, Marka, has announced that nine new Cheeky Monkeys Playland & Sweet Surprises will open in Saudi Arabia over the next five years.
The kids entertainment centres will open as part of a franchise agreement in the kingdom. The expansion will see Cheeky Monkeys’ first international venture in Dammam, Jeddah and Riyadh.
“This franchise expansion underlines our commitment to strengthening the presence of our brands not only in the UAE, but also across the GCC region,” said Nick Peel, chief executive of Marka.
He said that Saudi Arabia’s demographic of a young, growing population lent itself to the ethos of Cheeky Monkeys.
“The high demand for children’s ‘edutainment’ has enabled us to expand the scope of Cheeky Monkeys and we are excited about the prospect of partnering with a leading franchising company in Saudi Arabia to further expand our retail network.”
The regional franchise expansion follows the launch of Cheeky Monkeys’ venue at Al Naeem Mall in Ras Al Khaimah, the first time the “Play. Learn. Celebrate” initiative had debuted anywhere outside of the emirate of Dubai.
Marka announced plans last week for a Dh250 million bond sale looking to raise money for further acquisitions.
The announcement came as Marka reported a loss of Dh56.9m for the period from June 2014 to last December, following a buying spree in which the greenfield company snapped up Retailcorp, a unit of Istithmar World; a majority stake in Cheeky Monkeys; the restaurant chain Reem Al Bawadi; and the sports memorabilia company Icons.
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