Hamac Dubai, the Gulf distributor of beach brands Havaianas and Vilebrequin, plans to more than double its stores in the region by the end of 2012, Arabian Business has learned. The subsidiary of retail conglomerate AMZ Group plans to open 14 new stores over the next 12 months in a bid to bolster its share of the Gulf’s growing beachwear market. “We have been handling the distribution of Havaianas for the last six years, and every year we have been successful in increasing [revenues],” said brand manager Kornelia Maria Witecka, without specifying numbers. The flipflop have proved particularly successful within the Gulf’s expatriate market, she said, but the retailer hopes to expand its reach to target Gulf nationals. “Here in the Middle East is different to anywhere else. It’s not like Australia or New Zealand,” Witecka said. “With the local clientele they are not that keen on wearing flips flops or swimsuits or bikinis, hence, we have always targeted expats. “Next year we want to take a different turn and attract a more local, Arab clientele.” Dubai has seen an influx of overseas retail brands seeking a foothold in the Gulf as domestic revenues fade. The region’s trade and tourism hub is the second-most attractive emerging market for retailers after China, in part because high disposable income, according to management consulting firm AT Kearney. Retail accounts for 30 percent of gross domestic product in the emirate, home to about 40 shopping malls, Standard Chartered Bank estimates. Dubai’s malls feature an indoor ski slope, an aquarium, ice rink, and a ‘dancing’ fountain. Hamac’s store openings will include eight multibrand outlets, five Havaianas stores and one Vilebrequin shop. The first store is scheduled to open its doors in Dubai’s Ibn Battuta mall at the end of the November, and will be followed by a further four outlets in Abu Dhabi. The retailer is planning to open standalone stores in Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain, Witecka said.