The Lulu Hypermarket Group said on Sunday it was planning to launch about 50 neighbourhood stores across the GCC over the next three years.
Capitalising on the concept recently unveiled in Abu Dhabi, the company said the Express stores would be in addition to the 100 super- and hypermarkets it will have in the network, said Yousufali Mussaliam, managing director of the Lulu Group.
Three new LuLu Express outlets were opened last week, including two in Dubai and one in Fujairah. Others are already operational in Abu Dhabi and in Qatar, the company said in a statement published by state news agency WAM.
“It’s very much along the lines of probability that we will need to create between 40 and 50 outlets in the GCC between now and 2015. To me, it’s doable,” said Mussaliam.
Investments, based on industry benchmarks, could be in the region of up to AED10 million, he added.
The neighbourhood store concept is the new battleground for the big supermarket chains. Getting locational advantage holds the key to making a mark in the sector.
UAE-based supermarket chains are increasingly looking to grow their brand via smaller convenience stores located in residential areas rather than large shopping malls.
Spinneys Dubai has 20 smaller grocery stores in the UAE while Lulu and Al Maya Supermarkets both announced plans this month to expand their community-based stores in a bid to entice more customers to shop locally.
Al Maya Supermarket will open its gourmet outlets in Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach Residence, Liberty House in DIFC and one in Sports City.
“In Dubai, the retail market has shifted to community retail that take a more targeted approach to servicing a smaller catchment area,” said Jesse Downs, director, Jones Lang LaSalle MENA.
Source – Arabian Business