RIYADH: Aimed at providing Saudi youths with basic and advanced training to join the fast-growing Saudi retail sector, Apparel Group on Wednesday launched a major training center, which was approved and certified by the state-owned Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC).
Speaking to Arab News after formally opening the training center here, Nilesh Ved, chairman of Apparel Group, pledged to invest SR100 million ($26,665,245) to open new Apparel stores across the Kingdom this year. While defying the recessionary trends in the Gulf, he said: “Last year we opened 338 stores, and this year we will open close to 200 stores. We want smart growth, not only for the sake of growth.”
Ved disclosed that Saudi Arabia, which represents 10 percent of the company’s global revenue, is an emerging market, “thanks to the visionary leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense,” said the Apparel group chairman, while optimistically explaining his expansion plans within the framework of Vision 2030.
Referring to the training facility in Riyadh, Ved said: “We already have one training center in Dubai and we are planning to open another one in Oman… It is not part of our corporate social responsibility, rather education and training is part of our DNA.
“The center will contribute in bridging the skill gap in the retail sector by providing free-of-cost training to Saudi youths by experienced professionals and creating opportunities for them,” he added.
The target group will be Saudi boys and girls, who will get certificates of accomplishment after finishing their training courses. Ved said that “we are born retailers… through our training center we will make sure that the Saudi youth are truly ‘ready’ to be successful in retail industry.” The certification programs at the training center in Riyadh include customer service, retail management, training of trainers and more.
“The Apparel Training Center will provide graduates with opportunities to work across many of the international brands operated by Apparel Group in Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries,” explained Ved. “Through our partnership with brands like Tim Hortons, Tommy Hilfiger, Inglot, Skechers and many more, we are in a position to expose the Saudi youth to best practices from across the world,” said the Apparel chief.
He further said that the training will deliver TVTC-approved courses and the center will also organize guest lectures by leading retail professionals from across the region to ensure practical and theoretical knowledge for the students. The chairman pointed out that “Apparel group will soon have Apparel Training Center branches across the Kingdom to ensure Saudi youth everywhere can have access to the best-quality retail education.”
Apparel Group is a global fashion and lifestyle retail conglomerate catering to millions of shoppers through its more than 1,800 stores and 75 brands.

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