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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%

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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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As South Africa-based Pick n Pay launches a new campaign, its operations in Namibia add an ecommerce solution and companies in Kenya and Nigeria add new digital capabilities, we round up news from the region.

Pick n Pay spotlights small suppliers in South Africa

Pick n Pay has launched an initiative to put the spotlight on small suppliers in its home market. The campaign, called ‘Meet the Maker’, will run for three months in eight of its stores and will raise the visibility of products made by small producers. To enable shoppers to find out more about the products, Pick n Pay will print leaflets with information about the people behind the business and each brand. The retailer said it partnered with 100 small businesses and had invested about ZAR170m (US$11.9m) in supporting and growing them through mentorship and business development.

Commenting on the campaign, Pick n Pay’s group executive, Adrian Naude, said: "When in an aisle, a customer is faced with many options. We want to make it easier for customers to support local small business brands. We want our customers to know that by buying one of these products, they are not just supporting small business, but helping to create employment and uplift local communities."

Pick n Pay Namibia launches online

Meanwhile, Pick n Pay Namibia announced its online store had been launched for shoppers in the country’s capital, Windhoek. The launch follows a trial, which was launched in October 2018. The store offers a range of 1,300 SKUs at launch, but this will be expanded over time. The company said prices are the same online as they are in-store, while a delivery fee of NAD40 (US$2.80) is charged for shoppers in Windhoek and NAD80 (US$5.60) for those on its outskirts.

Alibaba enables AliExpress shoppers to pay with M-Pesa

Alibaba has announced that AliExpress shoppers in Kenya will now be able to complete their purchases using M-Pesa when buying through AliExpress’s Android app. Alibaba said the M-Pesa checkout option is only available through the app and is not available when buying through its web site.

Gloo to evolve into Gloopro

Nigeria-based ecommerce retailer Gloo has said that it is stopping its B2C activities, choosing instead to use its existing infrastructure to meet the needs of businesses. The B2B e-procurement platform will now enable large and medium sized corporate clients to purchase everything they need online. Through Gloopro companies will be able to order, pay and coordinate deliveries of office supplies to multiple locations. Following the relaunch, Gloopro is aiming to generate revenues of US$4m by the end of 2019 and ultimately US$100m as it expands across the region.

South Africa-based Woolworths has reported a slower growth in sales for the 26 weeks ending 23 December 2018. Sales increased by 1.9% compared with a 2.5% increase in the same period in 2017.

Food sales increased by 6.3%...

The company said its growth was impacted by the absence of a pre-Christmas trading day, which helped sales in 2017. However, Woolworths Food sales increased by 6.3%, with volume growth said to be driven by low levels of inflation, higher levels of promotions and price investment. Comparable store sales also increased by 4.2%, with a net retail area growth of 1.4%.

…Outperforming non-food categories

Woolworths Fashion and Beauty and Home sales fell by 2%. Comparable stores were 2.4% lower, due to a smaller winter clearance sale in Q1 2018. The company did, however, report a growth in sales in Q2 2018.

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