Middle East: regional expansion and mobile focus

Date : 19 December 2014

As Fucom and LuLu discuss expansion plans and Majid Al Futtaim’s wider business operations invest in Beam Wallet, underlining the growing importance of mobile commerce in the region, we round up news from the region.

Fucom to invest AED1 billion in Géant operations

The UAE-based franchisee of Casino’s Géant banner, Fucom, has, on the opening of its largest hypermarket in the country, said that it is planning to invest AED1 billion (US$272.2 million) in the expansion of the Géant brand. At the opening of the 11,000 sq. m store, which places a strong focus on fresh produce, Géant’s chief operating officer, Mark Anthony Lack, said that it was aiming to add both hypermarkets – with new stores set for Dragon Mart and Fujairah Mall in 2015 – and smaller stores. Lack said the investment would be made across the three markets of Bahrain, Kuwait and UAE over the course of the next three years and would help the retailer build on its recent successes, noting that ‘Our [Geant’s] sales are going up. We are pleased with progress of the sales... We are growing more than the market trend this is what we want to sustain’.

Majid Al Futtaim to partner with Beam Wallet

UAE-based Majid Al Futtaim, which operates the Carrefour brand across the Middle East, has announced that it is set to partner with Beam Wallet, a mobile commerce platform, that the company is aiming to integrate into its wider business infrastructure. The app from Beam Wallet enables shoppers to get rewards at over 800 stores operated by 600 retailers and consumer foodservice operators in the UAE.

Discussing the partnership, the chief executive of Majid Al Futtaim Finance, Rasool Hujair, said: “We believe that mobile technology is at the core of the consumer shopping experience, and our investment in Beam Wallet will further enhance our ability to create great moments for everyone every day, underscoring our leadership in creating innovative and rewarding shopping experiences for our customers.”

LuLu to invest US$400 million in operations

UAE-based LuLu, part of the EMKE Group, has announced that it is set to invest about US$400 million in its operations in India to add scale to its fruit, vegetable and meat processing units and to build a shopping mall in Hyderabad. The retailer said that it would take about two years to build the shopping mall, which will be anchored by a LuLu hypermarket on completion, and follows the successful launch of the brand in Kerala in early 2013.

Oman Oil to expand forecourt presence

As part of the company’s wider expansion-focused strategy, Oman Oil Marketing has announced that it has opened eight ahlain convenience stores during 2014, taking its total to 88, in addition to 12 further petrol forecourts, with plans for more to be added in 2015. Commenting on the strategy, Oman Oil’s general manager of retail, fuel cards and regional offices, Hussain bait Ishaq, said: “We designed our expansion plan to reach the country's rising population in all corners of the Sultanate, and offer consistently excellent and convenient one stop shopping experiences.”

Al Maya to grow its imports from Jordan

UAE-based Al Maya has announced that it is aiming to increase its imports of products, specifically in fresh, from Jordan. With more than 40 stores across the GCC, the retailer said that expansion was likely to play a key role in its strategy in the medium term with its group director, Kamal Vachani, saying that it is ‘planning to continue expanding our network of supermarkets next year’ following on from its addition of stores in Oman and Abu Dhabi in the fourth quarter of 2014.