Middle East: Amazon rebrands Souq, LuLu expands

Date : 02 May 2019

As Amazon rebrands Souq to its own name, UAE-based LuLu continues its expansion in the region and AliExpress prepares to launch Ramadam sale, we round up news from the region.

Amazon rebrands Souq

Almost two years after acquiring Souq.com Amazon has rebranded the site under its own name. Visitors to Souq, except those from Egypt and Saudi Arabia, are being redirected to the Amazon.ae site. The move means that shoppers will be able to choose Arabic as a language for the first time on an Amazon site.

Shoppers will be able to purchase from a range of more than 30m products, an expansion on the old range from Souq. The new assortment includes 5m products from Amazon US. Shoppers can pay for purchases in AED with local and international credit cards, while they will also be able to pay cash on delivery. The pace of delivery is also being improved, with shoppers able to get free next day delivery on orders over AED100 (about US$27), while same-day delivery will be available in parts of the UAE, although at a cost. Amazon Prime is not available, for now.

Retail Analysis subscribers can learn more about Amazon’s international expansion and development of Marketplace in our Strategic outlook for Amazon report here.

LuLu expands in Oman…

LuLu has opened its 23rd and 24th stores in Oman, as the retailer maintains its expansion across the region. The 23rd store was opened at the Mall of Muscat and is 21,400 sq. m in size, while the 24th, a 13,000 sq. m hypermarket, was added in Al Amerat in Muscat at the newly developed ‘Nujum Al Amerat Mall. The two stores stock a wide range, with a focus on fresh food, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, poultry, meat, and fish, while also having separate hot food and bakery sections.

…And investigates opportunities for logistics hub in Nigeria

Separately, the retailer has said it is looking into the possibility of establishing a sourcing and logistics facility in Nigeria to export local agricultural produce to its stores across the Middle East and Asia. Discussing the opportunity, LuLu’s chairman, Yusuff Ali MA, said: “We are interested to sign contract farming deals with local farmers and entrepreneurs to help supply fresh vegetables and fruits to our hypermarkets worldwide.

AliExpress prepares for Ramadan sale period…

AliExpress is said to be preparing to offer savings of up to 50% on a range of products for shoppers in Saudi Arabia and the UAE as part of a Ramadan sale. The week-long event will see deep discounts offered on certain products, with AliExpress running flash sales during the night to generate excitement. Shoppers spending over US$60 in the UAE and US$90 in Saudi Arabia will be able to receive express shipping for free.

…As online competition increases

Underlining the growing competitive pressures for retailers, and online retailers especially, in the Middle East, Mumzworld has announced it has received further funding to enable it to accelerate its expansion in Saudi Arabia. The company says that since its launch in 2011, the site has grown to be the ‘leading online marketplace for all things mother, baby and child in the region with more than 250,000 online products’.

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