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Netherlands-based SPAR International reported sales rose 5.4% globally to €35.8bn. The organisation said entry into four new markets, the addition of 335 new stores and the continued focus on its ‘Better Together’ strategy had underpinned the pace of its growth.

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As Majid Al Futtaim targets further expansion in Kenya and BinDawood continues to add new stores, we round up news from the region and its largest retailers.

Majid Al Futtaim targets second place in Kenya for 2019

Carrefour’s franchisee for the Middle East and specific countries in Africa, Majid Al Futtaim, has said it is aiming to become the second largest retailer in Kenya by the end of 2019. The aim was stated by the head of Majid Al Futtaim’s operations in the country, Franck Moreau, who said that after launching in the country three years ago, Carrefour ‘had grown far faster than expected’. In 2018 the retailer enjoyed a 71% increase in its revenue, to KES14.0bn (US$137.9m). To reach this target Majid Al Futtaim is looking to add a further two stores to its existing seven, while it is also working with pure play ecommerce retailer Jumia.

Spinneys signs exclusive import agreement with Casino

Spinneys has entered into an exclusive import agreement with France-based Casino that will see the former import more than 5,000 Casino branded products into Lebanon. Spinneys will initially stock Casino-branded products in the chilled and frozen categories before extending its offer to the full grocery range.

BinDawood continues its expansion drive

Saudi Arabia-based BinDawood has announced the opening of its 42nd Danube branded hypermarket in Ta’if. The 7,200 sq. m hypermarket is in the city’s Tera shopping centre and will fulfil online orders from May, with shoppers making purchases either through the retailer’s app or online store.

Mrsool app gains further users

Benefiting from shoppers’ growing interest in making purchases through online and digital channels, Saudi Arabia-based app Mrsool has continued to attract new users in the country. The app, which was launched in 2015, enables users to negotiate with couriers as the latter buys and delivers the order. Mrsool, which spotlights the personal touch it provides, by enabling couriers and shoppers to talk face-to-face, has grown to have four million registered users and processed transactions worth SAR1.0bn (US$266.5m) in 2018.

South Africa-based Pick n Pay has published a full year trading statement saying the Group enjoyed turnover growth of 9.6% in the 53-week period ending 3 March 2019. On a 52-week basis the retailer said turnover rose 7.1%

Sustained strategy pays off for Pick n Pay

Pick n Pay said the performance was driven by like-for-like growth of 4.8% in value terms, with like-for-like volume sales rising by 5.1%. Selling prices at its stores fell by 0.3% underlining the challenging economic and operating environment in which it is working in and how it is continuing to invest in prices to win in that market.

Noting the backdrop that it is working in Pick n Pay said the results ‘…in a very challenging trading environment, underlines the effective and consistent execution of the Group's long-term plan. Over the past six years, a strong focus on improving cost and operational effectiveness has enabled the Group to invest in a winning customer offer through lower prices, more attractive promotions, better and more innovative products, compelling value-added services, and brighter and more modern stores’.

Operations in home market driving growth

The retailer noted that is core South Africa division saw comparable turnover growth of 7.4%. It said its Pick n Pay and Boxer brands had enjoyed good growth and seen ‘consistent market share gains across the year’. Outside of its home market Pick n Pay said it had seen challenges in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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As UAE-based LuLu and Majid Al Futtaim and Qatar-based Al Meera discuss their expansion plans for 2019 and into the short term, we round up news from the region.

LuLu sets out expansion plans…

UAE-based LuLu is aiming to open 32 hypermarkets in 2019. The retailer has said it is looking to expand in GCC countries, where it aims to add 29, including 12 in the UAE, in addition to the 87 it currently operates, Egypt, Indonesia and Malaysia. The importance of the countries where it is aiming to expand is underlined by LuLu saying that out of its AED25.7bn (US$7.0bn) in revenue, 60% was generated in the UAE, 10% in Saudi Arabia and 5% in India.

In Saudi Arabia LuLu has signed an agreement with the Saudi Arabian National Guard covering two shopping centres and seven supermarkets in Dammam and Al Ahsa, while to support its expansion it has said it will open a 1,000,000 sq. ft logistics centre in the King Abdulla Economic City. In Egypt it has said it will open four new hypermarkets, with two to be opened in 2019, while it will look to operate nine by the end of 2020.

Finally, the retailer said it was looking to expand strongly in India through the addition of shopping centres and hypermarkets in the cities of Bengaluru, Chennai, Lucknow, Thiruvananthapuram and Vishakhapatnam. The new stores will add to its existing presence in Kochi.

…As Majid Al Futtaim looks to grow too

In an interview, MAF Carrefour’s country manager for Kenya and Uganda, Franck Moreau, has said the retailer is looking to grow its presence in Kenya and across the wider eastern and southern Africa region. Moreau said MAF plans to enter as many as five countries in the next four years, with entry into South Africa a consideration. He noted that if MAF were to enter South Africa it would be through acquisition, rather than organic expansion. In 2019 Moreau said MAF will open two more stores in Kenya and enter at least one new country.

Al Meera targets increase in selling space for 2019

Qatar-based Al Meera has held its Extraordinary General Assembly, which has led to it announcing several initiatives. First, the retailer approved an increase in the share of its foreign ownership to 49%. Secondly, it said it was aiming to increase its selling area to more than 100,000 sq. m by the end of 2019. This is up from its initial plan to grow its sales space by 97,000 sq. m.

The expansion in selling space will be driven by new stores, rather than extensions of existing sites. Al Meera said it would open a new centre in Rawdat Al Hamama, which would open in Q3 2019, while it was also building the Al Jumailia and Al Shamal branches and investigating opportunities for five further developments. The retailer is also aiming to open 10 MAAR convenience stores in Qatar Rail. A third strategic pillar will be private label, which Al Meera said it would relaunch during 2019. The relaunch will look at product’s ‘design, diversity, range, packaging, and re-branding’.

Union Coop announces FY2018 results

The UAE’s largest Consumer Cooperative, Union Coop, said it generate a total revenue of AED2.8bn (US$ bn) in 2018. Discussing the positive performance, Union Coop’s chief executive, H E Khalid Humaid Bin Diban Al Falasi, said: “Despite the challenges faced by the retail trade sector, Union Coop has maintained its dominant position in the market by adhering and complying with best international standards and adapting them to suit the local culture of our country in general and the Emirate of Dubai in particular.

To continue its growth trajectory Union Coop said it was looking to open a further 17 sites in the medium term and has received approval to expand outside Dubai. Union Coop said it is looking for land in Abu Dhabi.

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