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Sun 10 Jun 2007 04:08 PM

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Al-Habib selects hypermarket operators

Hyperpanda and Geant confirmed as hypermarket operators for five Al-Habib malls in KSA.

Al-Habib Company, a KSA-based real estate firm, has signed deals with Hyperpanda and Geant to operate hypermarkets at five of its mall developments in Saudi Arabia, the company confirmed to at the recent Retail City exhibition in Dubai.

The company, which is planning to open the malls between March 2008 and September 2008, has selected KSA-based retailer Hyperpanda to run hypermarkets at three of its developments: Aseer Mall in Abha, Alandalus Mall in Jeddah, and Jarir Plaza in Dhahran.

French retailer Geant will run two hypermarkets: Dareen Mall in Damman, and Kadi Mall in Jizan. The hypermarkets will be between 14,000 sq m and 20,000 sq m in size.

Al-Habib is yet to confirm which hypermarket group will operate at its Panorama development in Riyadh.

Al-Habib selects the hypermarket groups that it thinks will perform best at each of its developments, partly based on how well they perform in the relevant regions of Saudi Arabia.

"We are the landlord only so we don't have a conflict of interests, so everyone is a winner, whether it's Geant, Giant, Carrefour, or Hyperpanda," said Khalid A Al-Sehaibany, leasing director of Al-Habib.

"We have three different hypermarkets in the different cities. Some hypermarkets are strong in some cities. We sign with the hypermarket that is strong in the right region - this is our philosophy."

Al-Sehaibany added that Al-Habib negotiated deals worth almost SR100 million with retailers at Retail City by the second day of the exhibition.

"The Saudi Arabian market is very promising. Riyadh alone represents 50% of the economy of the Gulf annually. The city has five million people," he said.

Al Habib is also looking at less developed parts of Saudi Arabia, such as the city of Jizan. "There are underdeveloped cities in Saudi Arabia," Al-Sehaibany added. "Jizan has been forgotten. We are moving into that city - we always want to be the first."

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