The Swedish hardware chain stores Clas Ohlson is going to open its first franchise store in Dubai on April 30, which is the company's first step outside Europe, announced the company in a statement on Wednesday. "We very much look forward to the opening of the first Clas Ohlson store outside of Europe. In addition to growing our business into a new market, the store in Dubai also enables us to expand via franchising for the first time," said Klas Balkow, President and CEO Clas Ohlson in the statement. Clas Ohlson has earlier signed a franchising agreement with SYH Retail to establish the Clas Ohlson's retail concept in the GCC region (Gulf Cooperation Council), with a first store to open in Mirdif City Centre in Dubai, one of the largest shopping centers in the region. "We very much look forward to work with the strong team at SYH Retail to help and inspire the Dubai consumers by offering solutions to practical problems in their everyday life," Balkow added. "Clas Ohlson offers a new concept in the region, making shopping convenient and fun," Seda Bayarlar, Managing Director of SYH Retail was quoted as saying in the statement. The "Grand Opening Event" will include elements from a traditional Clas Ohlson opening ceremony such as Swedish folk music and traditional Dalecarlian horses. Two stores are planned to be established in the region in 2014 and the ambition is to establish at least 20 stores across the region over a five-year period, following an evaluation of the initial stores. Clas Ohlson was founded in Sweden in 1918 and has opened over 180 stores in Sweden, Finland, Norway and the United Kingdom.