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Sun 22 Jan 2006 04:00 AM

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Carrefour to install ERP for Saudi push

Supermarket giant Carrefour is looking to technology from Oracle and IBM to power 20 stores it plans to open in Saudi Arabia as part of a massive regional expansion plan.

Supermarket giant Carrefour is looking to technology from Oracle and IBM to power 20 stores it plans to open in Saudi Arabia as part of a massive regional expansion plan.

The French chain, the world’s second largest retailer, currently has just three stores in the Kingdom, all based in Riyadh.

However, it intends to open another 20 stores in the next five-to-ten years, with stores planned for Tabuk, Medina, Jeddah, Makkah, Abha, Taif, Buraida and the Eastern Province, according to the company’s web site.

It is understood that Carrefour is planning to implement an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system from Oracle, based on its PeopleSoft JD Edwards solution, to run its financials for the new stores.

Carrefour is a global user of PeopleSoft ERP software. A spokesman for Oracle Middle East confirmed that Carrefour is a regional customer, but said he was unable to comment on plans to use its software for the new stores.

Carrefour in Saudi Arabia is run as a joint-venture between the Al-Olayan Group and the Majid Al-Futtaim Group.

Swiss-based company R&M provided cabling to the three Riyadh stores and has three more stores “in the pipeline” that it will be working on.

“Carrefour are going for a very large expansion in Saudi Arabia,” revealed Laurent Amestoy, regional manager for R&M’s Middle East and Africa (MEA) region.

“They’ve done three but they are going to expand very rapidly to 12, then 20 shops,” he said.

R&M is working with a local partner, systems integrator Softnet, to implement Category 6 structured cabling systems, a level of standard which future proofs the installation so that if new applications come out in the future the cabling system should support them.

“The cabling system will allow all the computers to communicate with each other in the office,” said Amestoy.

“And all the points of sale will be linked together on the structured cabling system. If required in the future, they can add on some surveillance cameras and any kind of surveillance or security systems they want,” he added.

R&M is providing a guarantee to Carrefour that its cabling systems will be functional for at least the next 20 years, he said.

Saudi-based systems integrator Softnet installed the cabling and the networking infrastructure within the three Riyadh stores and is currently working on a fourth store in Jeddah.

“Using the R&M cables we have linked together all the different points of sale to the computer system to control stocks and sales,” said Wissam Ashker, sales manager of Softnet.

“For the networking we’ve installed all the switches and connected all the supermarkets to the head office in Riyadh. They have everything electronically controlled,” he explained.

Carrefour is also understood to be looking at a retail application from IBM to help run its network of point-of-sale devices.

The application will be used to register information on custom- er transactions and what items are being sold.

IBM was unavailable for comment as IT Weekly went to press.

The Carrefour group is a global supermarket chain, which has 12,055 stores worldwide. In 2005 it opened 1,394 new stores across the world and its sales grew by 6.1%, up from US$95.2billion to just short of US$101 billion.

The group has said it is looking at store expansions to fuel future growth. According to Carrefour’s own website it is planning to open 20 stores in Saudi over the next 10 years.It currently has 18 stores in the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Despite repeated attempts to contact Carrefour, executives declined to comment on the story.

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