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Savola unveils Dubai hypermarket plan
Source: Retail News Middle East , Author: Roger Field
Posted: Thu April 13, 2006 12:00 am

INTERNATIONAL. Al Azizia Panda, the biggest supermarket hypermarket group in Saudi Arabia, is planning to open its first store in Dubai in May, the company said this week.

The store, which will be the first Panda outlet outside of Saudi Arabia, will be an AED50 million (US$13.6 million), 15,000 square metre hypermarket situated in Dubai’s Festival City, close to rival group Carrefour’s Deira City Centre store.

The move is part of an ambitious growth strategy from Panda’s owner, the Savola Group, which intends to open ten hypermarkets outside Saudi Arabia by 2010 in a bid to compete with rival hypermarket groups such as Carrefour and Geant.

“Everybody knows Dubai is still a growing market and we think we can have stores here,” Jean-Marie Teyssedre, Chief Operating Officer, Panda, said. “We took the decision to come here because it’s a competitive market and we have an interesting concept.

“At the moment we have no Panda stores in any other GCC countries outside Saudi Arabia. We will start with the UAE. We have to go step by step and Dubai is our first step.”

Teyssedre added that Panda’s experience of the Saudi Arabian market places it in a strong position to compete with its rivals in other GCC countries. Part of the strategy for the international Hyper Panda stores will be to cater for local markets, and to this end the concept behind the Dubai store will differ slightly from Panda’s other outlets, mainly by having more space for electronic goods.

“It’s an upgrade from our Saudi concept to fit with the Dubai market, and also developed to fit with Festival City mall,” Teyssedre said. “Dubai will be a bit different from our stores in Saudi Arabia because the market is different. Each store has to be adapted to its own customers. It is clear that electronics is all important with tourists in Dubai.”

Panda, which currently has 60 stores in Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Dharan, Jubail, Rastanura, Mecca and Qassim in Saudi Arabia, also plans to consolidate its leading position in its home country by opening a further 60 Saudi Arabian stores by 2010. 

 

MIDDLE EAST BUSINESS COMMENT & ANALYSIS

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QATAR. The turmoil in financial markets at the beginning of this year has prompted some to question whether the US Federal Reserve should have increased interest rates in December.
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KUWAIT. Kuwait has built up very large fiscal and external net asset positions over many years, which will continue to help it weather the current low oil price environment; The overall fiscal and external balance sheets will remain strong, backed by a significant stock of financial assets.
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INTERNATIONAL. A Syria in which the regime and IS, rather than other rebel groups, are the only real domestic players turns Bashar al-Assad into a pivotal cog in the fight against jihadism. That is something Saudi Arabia cannot allow to happen. To turn the tide, it needs a United States that is engaged and willing to do its bit.
KUWAIT. Kuwait has built up very large fiscal and external net asset positions over many years, which will continue to help it weather the current low oil price environment; The overall fiscal and external balance sheets will remain strong, backed by a significant stock of financial assets.
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