| Japan

Japan’s % Arabica set for franchised European expansion in 2024

The boutique café chain has signed a master franchise agreement with Dubai-based SOHO Middle East to open stores in France, Germany, Portugal and Greece from next year

Abdelrahman Ismaik, CEO at SOHO Middle East (left) and Kenneth Shoji, Founder of % Arabica (right) | Photo credit: % Arabica


% Arabica has signed a franchise agreement with premium retail group SOHO Middle East to open stores across France, Germany, Portugal and Greece. 

The boutique café chain said the master franchise agreement will help expand its global reach from 19 countries to 39 within the next few years, when taking into account its other upcoming market entries. The first SOHO-operated stores are set to open in 2024. 

Kyoto-based % Arabica currently operates four stores in Europe, all within the UK, but will soon enter Hungary, Spain and Turkey, according to its website. The boutique café group is also in discussions to enter the Netherlands, with Russia and Italy previously mooted as potential markets. 

Globally, % Arabica currently operates 155 outlets – more than half of which are in China. 

Founded in Dubai in 2019, SOHO Middle East promotes itself as an ‘expert in retail concepts, marketing and distribution’, working with innovative brands which ‘foster self-expression and inspire communities’. 

Its current portfolio includes premium French fashion label IRO Paris and Los Angeles-based clothing brands AMIRI and Cotton Citizen. 

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