Ishiya to open shop in Dubai in December, will sell "Shiroi Koibito" cookies

(Photo provided by Ishiya) Construction advances at the Dubai Ishiya shop (back) in preparation for a December opening

On October 11, Ishiya President Ishimizu Hajime announced that Ishiya will open up their first foreign confectionary store on December 29 in Dubai, the largest city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Tourism demand has shrunk during the COVID-19 pandemic, and amidst doubts over recovery for a domestic market centering on souvenir sweets, Ishiya is hoping for new opportunities in Dubai as a country that leads the world in vaccine rollout speed and has eased travel restrictions as well.

Partnering with a UAE royal trading firm, Ishiya plans to open its shop on the first floor of the “Dubai Mall”, Dubai’s largest shopping mall. The shop size will be approximately 70 square meters. The product lineup will include the Ishiya flagship product “Shiroi Koibito”, which Ishiya has never permanently sold outside of Hokkaido. They plan to soon obtain Halal certification, which indicates that their food products follow Muslim religious law. The shop is a three-year trial enterprise, but if performance is favorable, the shop will continue to operate, and Ishiya will also consider opening a shop in other places such as the neighboring country of Qatar.

Ishiya has been experiencing sales stagnation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and has been exploring the possibility of expansion into foreign countries which have shown favorable economic recoveries like the US or China.

As of October 10, 85% of the UAE population has completed the COVID-19 vaccine program. People entering the country who test negative on a PCR exam are not legally obligated to self-isolate. The Dubai World Expo opened on October 1, drawing in tourists from all over the world, and a fast economic recovery is expected.

Ishiya President Ishimizu commented, “Because people in Muslim nations cannot drink alcohol due to the laws there, consumption trends towards sweet products, so we expect a high level of demand.”


Dubai Mall