UAE-based LuLu has announced the opening of stores in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain, while its managing director, Yousuf Ali, has discussed the retailer’s expansion plans for 2015 and how the fall in the oil price will not affect its expansion strategy.
New hypermarket opened in Saudi Arabia, more to follow in short term
LuLu opened its fourth hypermarket in Saudi Arabia in Riyadh, with the 18,500 sq. m store providing a strong range of fresh vegetables and fruits, hot food, bakery alongside non-grocery ranges like apparel, electronics and home appliances. At the opening of the new store, the company’s managing director, Yousuf Ali, said that LuLu was planning to invest SAR800 million (US$213.1 million) on the addition of eight further hypermarkets in Saudi Arabia over the course of the next two years.
Three more shopping centres planned for Bahrain
As part of its wider expansion plans, LuLu will add three shopping centres in Bahrain, with each anchored by one of its hypermarkets. To support this growth the retailer said that it would be opening a major logistic centre in Manama, Bahrain’s capital, which will also underpin its regional expansion.
Hypermarket added in Qatar
LuLu added its sixth hypermarket in Qatar, in the Barwa City district of Doha, the country’s capital city. The 18,500 sq. m hypermarket, in addition to the retailer’s standard range, will have a section dedicated to ‘free from’ products, including an extensive range of imported items that will offer shoppers gluten-free, lactose-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, fat-free, nut-free and sugar-free products. Commenting on the new hypermarket Yousuf Ali said: “We are very clear in our approach to expansion and I am very confident about the economic situation of Qatar… Two more new hypermarkets are in the pipeline and are expected to be operational by the middle of 2015.”
Expansion to continue in 2015, despite fall in oil price
The retailer’s managing director, Yousuf Ali, has said that the short term expansion plans will be maintained, despite the recent fall in oil prices. Yousuf Ali said that he believed the low oil price was ‘only a temporary phenomenon’ and that it will bounce back ‘to normal levels’ in future, supporting its outlook for the region alongside government and shopper spending.
Expansion will occur outside the Middle East during 2015, with LuLu aiming to add hypermarkets in Malaysia, where it could open its first store by the third quarter, and Indonesia, as part of a US$500 million investment plan. The retailer said that it had set aside US$200 million for its investment in Malaysia, where it said it was aiming to open six halal-only hypermarkets. To take advantage of economic growth in a number of countries, LuLu is aiming to enter further new markets, including Algeria, Iraq, Libya and Morocco.