By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 17 September 2013:
The famous British department store Debenhams officially opened its first branch in the Siyahiya end of Gergarish in Tripoli today. The store had had its “soft opening” two weeks ago and was already doing good business, according to staff.
The store, part of the United Fashion Group, part of the Bey and Sons group of companies, is the latest addition to a long and distinguished list of stores owned by the group. These include Marks and Spencer, Mango, Next, Aldo and OVS. Mango was opened in 2006.
The store was officially opened by Nick Baird, the Chief Executive of UKTI, the UK’s Minister in charge of trade and industry.
“The opening of this store is a concrete example of UK-Libya partnerships”, Baird told Libya Herald. “It is one of the top UK department stores and brands” he said proudly.
“It sends a message to British businesses that there is a market in Libya and that there are opportunities for a whole range of companies in a country that has opportunities to be pursued”, he added.
Husny Bey, head of the United Fashions Group, said that by opening the Debenhams store in Tripoli at this particular time it sends a clear message to those who are wrongly labelling Libya as a “failed state”.
Bey was keen to stress his optimism for Libya and its business sector, and was eager to remind those who know their history that similar doubts were cast on Libya’s ability to survive as a state just after it received its independence in 1951.
Bey said that Libya was going through an action replay of the difficulties it had then, but that in the 1950’s it was a poor state. Now he added, that at least Libya has money to help solve its difficulties.
The owner of the new Debenhams was very proud of his companies’ achievements and its willingness to take a lead in the retail sector by introducing world renowned brands and products into Libya.