Vivian Salama

  • Last Updated: July 10. 2008 9:04PM UAE / July 10. 2008 5:04PM GMT

Shoppers wander into H&M at City Stars Mall, in Cairo, Egypt. Victoria Hazou for the National

When news broke that the Swedish retailer, H&M, was to open in Cairo in May, dozens of groups instantly formed on Facebook, the social networking website, to celebrate the store’s arrival in Egypt.

More than 14,000 once fashion-deprived men and women of all ages attended the store’s grand opening.

An ease in government regulations, coupled with the influx of international retailers and developers, has led to a transformation of Egypt’s retail industry, with residents of Cairo and Alexandria welcoming dozens of new malls and foreign brands in recent months.

With the recent relaxation of trade duties – which were dropped from nearly 150 per cent to 20 per cent last year – a pent-up demand for international consumer brands has been unleashed.

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