Kuwait-based Alshaya Retail Group plans to expand its retail operations in Turkey, investing US$40 million on opening new stores in the country in 2006.

The company, which has signed a franchise agreement to represent Gap and Boots in Turkey and the Middle East, says it is also planning to bring these brands to Turkey.

The Alshaya Group, a leading Middle East retailer for premium stores and brands such as Debenhams, Mothercare, Top Shop and Starbucks, will initially launch Gap and Boots branded products in Kuwait, followed by new stores in Turkey.

Aiming to expand its retailing activities across Turkey, the Alshaya Group opened its first store in Izmir city at the end of September. Its next shops are due to open in Bursa, Ankara, Adana, Antalya, Eskisehir and Trabzon.

The group entered the Turkish market two-and-a-half years ago with the acquisition of Giysa, and intends to increase its number of stores to 200 by 2006.

By Hasan Gulveren.