Spinneys Dubai: future strategy and supermarkets changing role

Date : 03 October 2017

Matthew Frost has given his first in-depth interview since being appointed as the new CEO of Spinneys Dubai. We look at what his comments tell us about the future of the retailer, and how shoppers are changing the role of supermarkets in the Middle East.

Future focus

Domestic and international expansion…

Frost has said he expects Spinneys Dubai to expand both inside and outside the UAE. The exact locations have not been announced yet. Population movement across the region is expected to influence this with a key focus on the urban locations people are moving into.

VAT introduction…

As of this week, new VAT rates have been introduced in the UAE, with 50% on carbonated drinks and 100% on cigarettes. A VAT rate of 5% on a wider range of goods is also expected to be introduced in the UAE from January 2018, at the time where Frost will be joining the business. Most basic food products will be exempt and therefore the retailer does not expect big challenges to the business, believing it is essential for creating a diverse economy. However, it has the potential to affect shopper’s overall confidence and spending power. This will be a concern going forwards.

The changing role of supermarkets


Frost feels that shoppers’ buying habits are changing. Online is becoming increasingly important, and he feels it is the inevitable direction of future development. Therefore, launching a new e-commerce platform will be a key focus for the future. More retailers across the Middle East are starting to focus on e-commerce. Large online only platforms such as Souq.com and Noon.com are providing increased competition for traditional retailers, as they both sell a large range of groceries.

For more on Noon.com’s launch see our news story here.

Healthy eating…

Retailers are looking for ways to respond to the increasing demand for health focused products. Spinneys has seen shoppers seeking out more free-from products and information on the benefits of the foods they are purchasing. Frost has said that “We have a job as a retailer to support some of the big concerns in society today”. We expect to see retailers taking an increasingly larger role in educating the public about the food they are buying.

For subscribers wanting more on Spinney’s Dubai, see our insight presentation here.