By Gavin Gibbon
Supermarket giant Carrefour has target to open 50 stores in total throughout this year
Dubai retail giant Majid Al Futtaim plans to open a further 15 Carrefour stores in the GCC before the end of the year as it looks to meet a target of 50 openings in 2020.
Hani Weiss, CEO, Majid Al Futtaim – Retail, told Arabian Business that the openings will include hypermarkets, supermarkets and small format convenience stores and will be concentrated in the UAE, Oman, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
Outside the GCC region, more stores are planned to open in Egypt, Uzbekistan and Eastern Africa.
Weiss said: “We’ve seen Covid-19 impacting all sectors, but I would say the retail business, unlike other sectors where we have seen a major decline in business, here we have seen a major increase in demand, especially when it comes to grocery.”
Majid Al Futtaim holds the exclusive franchise rights to operate Carrefour in over 30 countries and currently operates around 300 Carrefour stores in 16 markets.
Carrefour’s online sales increased by 300 percent in the UAE and by 100 percent in Saudi Arabia during the Covid-19 lockdown period.
However, Weiss revealed that the coronavirus pandemic has also seen a change in consumer behaviour in the offline stores, with the company’s supermarket business growing twice as fast as the hypermarkets since February.
He explained: “In the past, we know that on average a customer here in the UAE, a customer would visit a hypermarket at least four-to-six times per month. Some customers visited the hypermarkets twice a week, but on average we had a visit six times a month.
“Nowadays we see the maximum number of visits to the hypermarkets is restricted more or less to four times a month, ie. once a week, where customers are buying their shopping and their products for the full week and they try to top up their daily needs, their fresh milk, the baguette and bread, from the local supermarkets or online.”