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Sat 15 Mar 2008 04:00 AM

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What's selling

The fastest moving brands and latest shopper trends at supermarket chains across the Middle East.

Retail News investigates the fastest moving brands and latest shopper trends at supermarket Chains across the Middle East.

UAE-based supermarket chain Choithram has capitalised on its ability to source a wide range of products, however Retail News discovered that across five of its stores, its consumers' needs are worlds apart.

Local and expatriate shoppers typically frequent the chain's flagship supermarket in Umm Suqeim store, Dubai. To accommodate diverse taste profiles, the store has built a product range from Europe, the US, South Africa and Australia, and its leading category is currently fresh foods.

According to Kirti Meghnani, manager - trade inventories for Choithram, sales for fresh produce stems predominantly from products such as broccoli, raspberries, avocados, tomatoes and clementines.

"At the fresh meat counter, Australian beef fillets and steak lead the sales, followed by fresh chicken. In the fresh dairy category, Almarai milk tops the list. Frozen products make a significant mark with Blue Bell ice cream, Birds Eye Fish Fingers, McCain French fries and Delight garden peas," Meghnani says.

The store's in-house bakery has proved hugely popular in the emirate, and its biggest draws are currently its French baguettes and Wikinger breads.

The operator's Bur Dubai store - one of the first supermarkets in the region to open 24-hours - witnesses a high number of Indian shoppers.

"The fresh category brings in the highest sales, with regional produce including tomatoes, potatoes, fresh greens and cucumbers. Bananas, Royal Gala apples and USA red apples are the favorites in the fruit category," Meghnani says.

The meat section is dominated by fresh Indian mutton, and people travel from far-off areas for the expertly cut, chilled meat. Red Bull is the front running brand in the beverage category, and Bytco sugar, Bytco lentils, Heartlight Canola oil and Amul Ghee head sales in the grocery segments.

Abu Dhabi's Khaldiya store caters to very different trends, and its top sellers are basic staples, such as Bytco sugar, Safi corn oil, Nawar sunflower oil and Family basmati rice from Pakistan.

"The fresh categories are not far behind with local vegetables on top, followed by Al Ain and Almarai fresh milk. Here FMCG sales are led by Rainbow evaporated milk, which sells about five times more than the next item. Beverages also show a strong trend, and Red Bull leads the category," Meghnani says.

Choithram in Sharjah cashes in on the demand for the fresh categories. "Catering to the well populated area of Abu Shagara and the neighbouring districts, it is actually the humble vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, coconuts, apples and cabbages that are leading the pack.

"The fresh dairy category is fronted by Marmum yoghurts followed by the Indian heavyweight Amul Butter and Malai Paneer. Family basmati rice is followed by Noor sunflower oil, Heartlight canola oil and Al Baker chakki fresh flour.

Choithram's Fujairah stores are responding to slightly different trends, however its highest revenue-generating categories are from the Fresh section.

"It reinforces the consumer's belief that Choithram provides one of the best selection and cuts of meats, especially Indian mutton, which sells almost four times more than the second most popular item.

"The next best category is textiles and it enjoys a big chunk of the floor area, followed by the FMCG categories. The best sellers are Ligo Thai Jasmine rice, Bytco Sugar and Sunflow sunflower oil."

The UAE's brand championsUmm Suqeim, Dubai: Blue Bell ice cream, Birds Eye Fish Fingers, McCain French fries and Delight garden peas.

Bur Dubai: Red Bull, Bytco sugar, Bytco lentils, Heartlight Canola oil and Amul Ghee.

Khaldiya, Abu Dhabi: Safi corn oil, Nawar sunflower oil and Family basmati rice.

Sharjah: Marmum yoghurts, Amul Butter, Malai Paneer, Noor sunflower oil and Al Baker chakki fresh flour.

Fujairah: Ligo Thai Jasmine rice, Bytco Sugar and Sunflow sunflower oil.

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