MENA: online, expansion and private label

Date : 03 August 2015

As EMKE-owned LuLu sets out its online expansion plans, forecourt operator ADNOC and Nesto maintain their development strategies and the Sultan Center extends its agreement with UK-based Waitrose, we round up the news from the Middle East and north Africa.

LuLu set to expand online offer

UAE-based Lulu Hypermarket is set to add to e-commerce store in the medium term as shopper acceptance of buying online grows, while it could also extend its reach to India, where it operates one store, as of August 2015. Adding to its online range was spotlighted by the company’s head of e-commerce, Stuart Davidge, who was quoted as saying ‘[Online] opens up other multi channels of growing different parts of business through bringing in new product ranges that we currently can’t sell within our retail store. This is one avenue that we can go down. Furniture, for example, is extremely difficult to put in a hypermarket because of space but we can offer it online and stock it in a warehouse’.

To encourage more shoppers to trial online, Davidge said that the retailer will launch prepaid cards to enable shoppers to make a payment online without being concerned about their details being stolen or hacked. Getting shoppers to buy more online will be key for LuLu as it aims to boost its share of online sales to 5% of total sales within three years.

Sultan Center extends deal with Waitrose

Kuwait-based Sultan Center has extended its four year partnership with UK-based Waitrose, which will enable it to add Waitrose’s products to its stores in Jordan. The Sultan Center is the exclusive distributor for Waitrose’s private label products in Kuwait and Lebanon, which will now be extended to Jordan. The retailer said it would be adding products in a variety of categories including grocery, frozen foods, snacks and beverages.

ADNOC says deregulation to aid expansion

The distribution arm of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) said that it is set to add more than 100 new stations, with the expansion funded by the profits accrued from the deregulation of petrol prices in the country, which was implemented on 1 August. The deregulation of petrol prices is expected to push up average prices by more than 20%. ADNOC said it was aiming to add a further 125 forecourts to its existing presence of nearly 400.

Carrefour’s franchisee for Morocco backs Atacadão format

Following the conversion of an Atacadão cash & carry into a Carrefour hypermarket in Casablanca, Carrefour’s franchisee for Morocco, Label’Vie, has said that it remains committed to the banner and format and will not be converting all its Atacadão to the hypermarket format. In its 2014 results statement Label’Vie said it added only one Atacadão store in the year, but was looking to add further stores in the medium term.

Western International continues expansion

Western International, which operates the Nesto fascia across the GCC, has opened a Nesto Hypermarket in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia. The new store, which is said to measure c. 10,000 sq. m, builds the company’s presence across the region, marking its 36th, and adds to its store portfolio in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait.

Majid Al Futtaim to sustain investment in Lebanon

UAE-based Majid Al Futtaim has said that it has US$1 billion remaining to invest in Lebanon from the US$2 billion it had earmarked for its expansion in the country. Although the money will be invested across all the brands that Majid Al Futtaim operates, not solely in its Carrefour banner, Alain Bejjani, Majid Al Futtaim’s chief executive, has said that it is aiming to build a shopping centre, which is likely be anchored by a Carrefour hypermarket, in Waterfront City.