Lulu plans spate of new hypermarkets

Abu Dhabi-based Emke Group is the latest retailer to show that the foreign influx is doing little to slow its plans.

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By  David Ingham Published  April 4, 2005

Abu Dhabi-based Emke Group is dramatically expanding its portfolio of Lulu stores. New openings are on the way in the UAE and a contract has been signed with a Saudi partner to establish hypermarkets in the country in the next two years. In the northern emirates of the UAE, a 70,000 ft² Lulu Centre opened in Umm Al Quwain in March with a 450,000ft² Lulu Hypermarket in Ajman scheduled for this month. Both stores will reportedly stock a wide range of food and non-food products. “These new projects reflect our ambitious growth plans for the region and our commitment to providing residents in this part of the UAE with an unparalleled shopping experience,” said Yousuf Ali, managing director of EMKE Group. “With the rapid economic growth being witnessed all around the UAE, we strongly feel we should be closer to our customers in the emirates of Umm Al Quwain and Ajman, so that they do not have to make long trips to meet their shopping needs.” Lulu Hypermarkets are also at various stages of development at Barsha and Jumeirah in Dubai, and at Sohar and Darsait in Oman. As for plans to open in Saudi Arabia, Ali was quoted in newspaper reports as saying that Lulu Hypermarkets will open in Jeddah, Riyadh and Al Khobar within the next two years. The company has already signed a contract with an unnamed Saudi partner to set up the stores, but further details are not yet available. Lulu is the latest homegrown retailer to show that the arrival of foreign operators Carrefour and Geant is not derailing its plans. Spinneys Holding intends to expand its five Lebanon stores to seven and open up to fifteen new outlets across the Arab states, Pakistan and Iran over the next five years.

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