Arafa Holding’s history spans over decades, the company evolved from a small family business in Egypt’s Nile Delta region to the global fashion and apparel group it is today.
The company’s story began in 1907 in the Nile Delta where Abdel Ma’assoud Arafa established himself as a small, independent fabric retailer. The Arafa family then decided to move the business to Cairo to increase their visibility and to capitalize on the growing urban market. Multiple waves carried the company from nationalization in the 1950’s to liberalization in the 1970’s where the family regained ownership of the business again following President Sadat’s liberalization under Ahmed Arafa’s management.
Ahmed Arafa reinvigorated the business, opening a retail shop in 1977 in the Egyptian port city of Port Said selling both fabric and garment that sold imported finished products primarily; but knowing the importance of controlling the value chain, Mr. Arafa expanded the company’s operations to include manufacturing, beginning the transformation of Arafa from a small local retailer into a manufacturer then to a retailer later. In 1984, Mr. Arafa expanded the business again by founding GoldenTex Wool Company, a producer of high-quality wool Fabric.
The company entered the ready-made garment business with the establishment of the Swiss Garments Company in 1989. Expanding its vertical integration further in 1997, Arafa Holding acquired Concrete, a local retailer of smart casual wear for men, which it has grown to be Egypt’s leading luxury “total look” brand.
The retail arm expanded internationally in 2004, when Arafa Holding ventured the UK market strongly acquiring a heritage retailer. Today Arafa Holding owns a 98.5% stake in UK based, Baird which controls 14% of the UK suits market. In 2008, Arafa Holding continued its international expansion as it acquired 35% of Italy’s Forall Group, owner of the global luxury brand Pal Zileri.
Today, Arafa Holding is a leading fashion and apparel manufacturer and retailer accounting for 10% of Egypt’s garments exports, serves and partners with leading global brands including Pal Zileri, Ermenegildo Zegna, Massimo Dutti, Zara and Debenhams.