By Gavin Davids
Eight stores to be launched across the GCC and India during 2011
Retail giant Jumbo Electronics is set to begin a year-long global expansion plan, following the launch of an $820,000 store in Abu Dhabi’s Marina Mall, the retailer’s CEO said.
Set to open in three weeks, the Marina Mall store is the beginning of an ambitious expansion into Abu Dhabi for the Dubai-based company, Deepak Khetrapal told Arabian Business.
“Within the next three months, there will be a large store in Dalma Mall and we’re looking for more of the right kind of retail space in Abu Dhabi depending on when the space availability comes up,” he said.
The move into the Abu Dhabi market will herald the launch of a further eight stores, spread across the GCC and India in 2011. The electronics retailer is the largest in the UAE, with over 30 stores, and Khetrapal indicated that the time was right to look further afield.
“In the wider GCC region, the chosen strategy is to first focus on the markets in which we already have a presence. In Oman, for example, we have a presence and we want to expand there. We’ve spotted three potential locations where Jumbo retail could find more space,” he said.
“Kuwait, we’re not there at all. We’re doing some distribution, but no retail. Qatar as well. So these three are the primary markets where we’re trying to find space. Bahrain has another presence, but I think there’s room for us to expand there.”
He added that the 2022 World Cup bid was likely to spur Qatar’s economy upwards and that it was important to prepare the company for that growth by establishing a presence there.
India is also expected to receive strong focus, given the size of the market and the burgeoning upper middle class with disposable incomes.
“Our current stores are mainly around the northern part of India,” Khetrapal said, adding that they have signed up in Mumbai and are going in with two stores. “We’re looking for space in Hyderabad and Bangalore where we’re not present now and we’re looking further up north in Punjab, in Chandigarh and Ludhiana,” Khetrapal said.
He added that India’s proximity to Dubai has helped make the transition smoother than it could have been, as Jumbo’s brand had gained a lot of traction thanks to visits from Indian tourists to Dubai.
“The Indian tourist has been visiting Dubai and seen our strengths, so that, in a way, gives us a major advantage over anyone who’s starting afresh,” he said, adding that the company would be able to carry over its strong relationship with brands that they retail in the UAE.
“The other difference between India and the UAE is that in India we’re not in any way tied down by any special commitment with Sony, unlike here. India’s more of an open market where we’re a pure retailer. So in that sense, we’re a lot more multibrand,” he added.
In addition to the expansion plans, Khetrapal said that he would be looking at revamping existing older stores in the smaller northern Emirates, as a number of them were not up to the standards of Jumbo retail.
He added that some stores in Dubai malls, which were struggling with customer footfalls would be scrutinised closely before a decision was made on their future.
“Closing the store does not mean that we’re withdrawing from the market, we’re replacing them with a bigger and better store. It’s not just the store profitability, it’s about whether the customer finds the location attractive enough,” Khetrapal said.