Traditional children’s store Mothercare hopes to make its first tentative steps into Iraq later this year, opening a store in Arbil, in the Kurdish North of the troubled country.The decision to move into Iraq was made by Mothercare’s franchise retail partner Alshaya, who decided to use Mothercare to test Iraqi waters because they believe the brand travels well. “Iraq has 30 million people – clearly it’s a country with a lot of potential,” says Mothercare CEO Ben Gordon. “We’re Alshaya’s first brand there. We were the first in Syria – we tend to lead the brand, the brand that works best.” As well as being the first in Syria, Mothercare also has branches in countries such as Ghana, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan. And this international expansion is lucrative: two-thirds of all Mothercare sales come from the international division, which tends to hold more brightly coloured products than the British stores.
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