Middle East: delivery apps, new stores and local sourcing

Date : 30 July 2020

Danielle Molloy-Vickers

Retail Analyst

We round up new developments as retailers in the UAE offer new delivery app services, Choithrams opens a new store in Dubai and Lulu continues to expand in Saudi Arabia.

New delivery apps to drive profitability for food and beverage suppliers

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many consumers in the UAE have turned to ordering food through Deliveroo, Talabat, Uber Eats and Zomato. These services, however, charge food and beverage providers commission of 30-35% to use platforms. To combat the high fee and take advantage of trends towards ordering food online, two new delivery services have been announced:

  • Ecommerce marketplace Noon.com will launch a delivery service, Noon Food, providing fair commissions to food and beverage operators using the platform
  • Dubai-based, The Entertainer Group, has launched the food app, Munch, charging a 5% commission fee to operators

Choithrams expands network in downtown Dubai

Choithrams has opened a new supermarket of 3,500 sq. feet in downtown Dubai, at The Loft Tower. The new store will feature specialty and organic produce, flowers, food-to-go, fresh and baked goods.

CEO of Choithrams, Rajiv Warrier, commented, “We have seen our online business soar during the last three months. And as always, we are dedicated to providing our customers with the convenience they seek, which is a mix of the experience of physical stores and online accessibility”.

Lulu to continue Saudi expansion with five new hypermarkets…

Lulu has announced its plans to open five new hypermarkets in Saudi Arabia in 2020 despite the challenges faced by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Group had already planned to open 3 hypermarkets earlier this year, which was postponed due to the virus. As restrictions have been lifted, the retailer will continue with the planned openings, with an additional two stores to be opened later in the year.

…As it supports local sourcing

The retailer has also announced two new initiatives to support products from neighbouring countries and manufacturers:

  • Lulu has signed a deal with the Ministry of Agriculture and Saudi Export House to support and promote the country’s commitment to non-oil-based trade, promote Saudi-marked dates and local products from Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Egypt and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The countries that make up the GCC include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates
  • It launched the ‘Emirates First’ initiative to support local producers and farmers, across all hypermarkets in Saudi Arabia. The retailer will work alongside local manufactures to market their products and provide support from training, operations management, packaging, and marketing