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Thu 18 May 2017 06:14 PM

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Alabbar's Noon venture has let Dubai staff go, say sources

"Due to the shift in our operational base ... there have been nominal staff reallocations and changes"

Alabbar's Noon venture has let Dubai staff go, say sources

Noon, the e-commerce venture of Dubai businessman Mohamed Alabbar partly funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, let go of dozens of staffers in Dubai amid delays to rolling out the app, according to four people familiar with the matter.

Members from all departments, as well as contractors and vendors were let go, the people said, asking not to be identified as they aren’t authorised to speak to the media. Two of them said that there is still some hiring taking place.

“Due to the shift in our operational base and the need for even greater efficiencies, there have been nominal staff reallocations and changes,” Noon said in an e-mailed statement Thursday. “Any rumours to the contrary are exaggerated and incorrect.”

Alabbar, also the chairman of Emaar Properties PJSC, told employees in late April that Chief Executive Officer Fodhil Benturquia is no longer working at the company, two of the people said. Noon said in Thursday’s statement that as a private company they don’t comment on internal matters.

Emaar Malls PJSC, the operator of the world’s biggest shopping center also chaired by Alabbar, in March bid $800 million for Dubai-based online retailer Souq.com and subsequently lost to Amazon.com Inc. That acquisition could have given a boost to Noon, in which Saudi Arabia’s wealth fund pledged to invest $500 million.

Alabbar said last year the app would go live this January. In a May 16 statement, Noon announced plans to start operations this year and have a permanent operational base in Riyadh. The company is scaling up operations in Riyadh by shifting some Dubai-based staff, according to Thursday’s statement.

“We will announce details of our launch, including the app, in due course,” Noon said. “We have a clear strategy, and continue to build a great team of professionals and strong partnerships.”

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Patrick 2 years ago

Advise to Noon: fire your strategy advisor asap.

RAK 2 years ago

Who is the strategy advisor? And why?

Nick 2 years ago

Something obviously has gone wrong at noon.com and it seems now they are panicking (botched Souq bid, rushed JadoPado buyout)
It seems Noon may be a ironic choice for the brand given it may well never see the light of day.

Hansol 2 years ago

Sorry i don't agree with the comments so far. Noon is being funded by KSA, by far the bigger market is KSA, so it makes perfect business sense to be based in KSA.

GoodToGo 2 years ago

Guys, this is not going to happen. Noon will end up charging same money as B&M shops as they cannot undercut the fundamental economy of Dubai. So even if it does come online, at best, it will be a waste of time. Wait for amazon to launch if you are interested in online shopping.

Patrick 2 years ago

I agree with that, but that was the case since day one, why now move it and relocate and terminate employees, that is the question..

Jodi Capella 2 years ago

No way they can compete with Amazon...they just don't have the resources, expertise, technology, funding, know how, logistics , economies of scale to compare with the largest retailer in the world.

Victory Red 2 years ago

The only way they can compete is if they get direct distribution agreements with major brands but these are all under tight agreements signed with retailers right now. Don't expect them to be able to poach these brands from existing retailers/distributors.

Also these very retailers are struggling to develop their own online offering but they will keep at it as they need this dual channel in order to be able to compete.

As a consumer, I will continue to shop outside the UAE for most things simply because prices here are significantly higher than other countries that I regularly visit. The UK is the cheapest place to shop right now so will be taking an extra suitcase on my travels there in August.