MENA: competition rising in Egypt and online in UAE

Date : 02 July 2015

As Saudi Arabia-based Panda and Lebanon-based Spinneys announce plans to expand in Egypt, LuLu and Géant are set to expand online in the UAE and Carrefour’s franchisee for Morocco, Label’Vie, secures funding for expansion in the country, we round up the news from the region.

Panda planning to enter Egypt in 2015

Saudi Arabia-based Panda is set to open 16 stores in Egypt according the country’s Minister of Supply, Khaled Hanafy. Hanafy was speaking after meeting with the senior management team from Panda and noted that stores could be opened in Cairo, where six could be added, Alexandria, Mansoura and Assiut. Hanafy said that the first stores could be opened by the end of 2015, with the others added over the course of the next two years. Hanafy’s statements come after Panda’s chief executive, Muwaffaq M Jamal, said the retailer was looking at opportunities in Egypt and that it was looking to expand ‘aggressively’ in the country.

Spinneys continuing expansion in Egypt

Spinneys, meanwhile, has announced that it has added a new store in Egypt, in Cairo, marking its first new store in country for four years, and adding to the four that it already operates in Egypt. The 1,400 sq. m supermarket focuses on food, carries more than 20,000 products, with Spinneys saying that many are imported from Europe, such as bakery products from Italy, to ensure their freshness. Commenting on the new store, Spinneys’s chief executive for Egypt, Mohanad Adly, said: “We have very ambitious expansion plans for Egypt for the next three years. We will expand our chain in a carefully planned manner to be as close as possible to our customers, so as to provide maximum convenience to our shoppers.”

Adly went on to say that Spinneys was aiming to open another store ‘soon’ and five more by the end 2015, which would include a new store in Alexandria, in Haram and one in New Cairo, taking its presence to 11 hypermarkets and supermarkets. Adly noted that its varying format size enabled it to target different shopper missions, with smaller supermarkets offering ‘an exceptional quick-trip shopping experience to meet those needs for consumers who are becoming busier every day’.

LuLu and Géant set to drive online competition in UAE

LuLu and Géant are preparing to launch new online solutions in the UAE, according to reports in The National, steps that could help boost shopper awareness of the channel and increase acceptance. The potential comes as LuLu continues its US$5 million investment in the relaunch of its website and the launch of an app. LuLu is also expanding the range of solutions it offers and is set to provide a click and collect service in addition to its home delivery option at all its stores in the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar. Discussing the new solutions, LuLu’s head of ecommerce, Stuart Davidge, said: “This investment is turning LuLu from a brick and mortar operator to an omni-channel operator that is open to our customers 24 hours a day, delivering produce and allowing collection of products from your closest distribution point. We do not see the investment as something that needs to be recouped tomorrow, it is an investment in LuLu’s future and future sales.”

Meanwhile, Géant will launch a similar service in September, although the retailer said that the scale of the delivery service has yet to be decided. Commenting on the coming developments, Géant’s supervisor for customer services, Nazia Noor, said: “Online grocery shopping is still a growing phenomenon. We have been running home delivery and online sales for two years in Dubai targeting specific communities and areas.”

Carrefour franchisee for Morocco secures funding for expansion

Carrefour’s franchisee for Morocco, Label’Vie, has announced that it has secured €45 million of investment from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to enable it to expand its presence in the country. The investment in Vecteur LV, a subsidiary of Label’Vie, will enable the company to accelerate its expansion in Morocco. Commenting on the investment, Label’Vie’s chief executive, Zouhair Bennani, said: “We are very pleased to welcome EBRD as the first equity partner in Vecteur LV. This transaction is a milestone for Label’Vie’s plan to accelerate its growth.” Bennani said that the opportunity for expansion of modern grocery retailing in Morocco was huge, with it only accounting for about 15% of total sales, but demand ‘booming’ driven by a growing middle-class population and fast urbanisation.