Middle East: results, ecommerce

Date : 02 August 2016

As Saudi Arabia-based Savola announces second quarter results, Spinneys opens a new store in Egypt and Mohammad Alabbar’s acquisition of a stake in Aramex putting a spotlight on ecommerce’s potential, we round up news from the region.

Savola suffers fall in net profit in Q2

Savola has announced that its net profit has fallen 43.2% to SAR246.7m (US$65.7m) in its second quarter as rising operating expenses and financial charges hit its performance. The company, which owns Saudi Arabia’s largest retailer Panda, said that its gross profit fell 4.7% to SAR1.3 bn (US$346.4m), which it pinned to lower margins in both its retail and food divisions. Savola said that the increase in operating expenses was ‘mainly due to opening of new stores and new distribution centre in the western region’.

Spinneys maintains expansion in Egypt

Spinneys has opened a further new store in New Cairo, which the retailer said was part of its strategy to launch new stores across Egypt during 2016. The New Cairo store is Spinneys' second addition so far in 2016, with the retailer noting that it was planning to open a further two before the end of the year.

Commenting on the expansion strategy, the company’s chief executive, Mohanad Adly, said: “Our growth plan looks different today than it did a few years back, driven by shoppers’ expectations for convenience and high-quality service. The supermarket format offers an exceptional quick-trip shopping experience to meet those needs for consumers who are becoming busier every day.

Aramex sells stake to investors

According to reports from Bloomberg, Mohammad Alabbar, Alabbar Enterprises' chairman, alongside other investors, has bought a stake in UAE-based delivery firm Aramex for AED523m (US$142.4m). The acquisition by Alabbar is likely to put a further impetus behind the development of ecommerce in the UAE, while it could support the evolution more widely across the region, through Aramex’s operations elsewhere. Ecommerce is becoming an increasingly interesting for shoppers, albeit penetration remains low, and so the investment by Alabbar Enterprises could help drive further growth.

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