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Wed 9 Jan 2008 01:21 PM

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Waitrose to hit UAE market

First Waitrose store outside the UK to replace existing Spinneys’ supermarkets at the Meadows in Dubai.

Spinneys’ new licensing deal with UK-based Waitrose will incorporate the conversion of some of the company’s existing Dubai stores to the brand, Retail News Middle East can reveal.

The first Waitrose store outside the UK will open in April this year at Spinneys’ supermarket in the Meadows, and two new Waitrose stores will be opened at Marina Mall and the Burj Dubai Mall.

Spinneys Dubai LLC (Spinneys), a subsidiary of Albwardy Investments, will now license the Waitrose brand from John Lewis Partnership using the Waitrose fascia, a move the UAE-based company has described as “bold, but nonetheless plausible.”

Waitrose’s own-label products have been sold in Spinneys stores in the UAE and Oman since 2004, and the chain now offers 800 products of the range.

This number is now set to surge, fuelled by plans for the “larger, soon-to-be opened” Waitrose stores to bolster the selection of John Lewis home ware items available in the Middle East.

Spinneys’ portfolio consists of 11 Market stores and 17 supermarkets in the UAE and nine supermarkets in Oman. The company has earmarked an aggressive expansion programme for 2008, set to increase its range to 50 stores.

“Spinneys’ approach to retailing is simple. We aim to consistently deliver quality products, in an environment, which reflects our customers’ demand for innovative and contemporary living,” according to a company statement released today.

“The Waitrose licensing agreement will mark the beginning of an exciting period for Spinneys. It will enable the company to build on its reputation for providing Dubai’s increasingly cosmopolitan population with quality merchandise and an enjoyable shopping experience.”

The statement also signalled wider regional expansion for the company on the heels of the lucrative deal. “The venture will give Albwardy Investments the ability to expand throughout the GCC, using the Waitrose name.”

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