Jacky's expands with new HQ

Jacky’s, a Dubai-based retailer specialising in FMCG and electronics goods, has established its new corporate headquarters in Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai.

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By  Roger Field Published  January 8, 2006

Jacky’s, a Dubai-based retailer specialising in FMCG and electronics goods, has established its new corporate headquarters in Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai. The new base covers 10,000m2 and includes a logistics centre with 150% more capacity than Jacky’s original warehouse in the area. The new base is part of Jacky’s strategy to use Dubai as a hub for its burgeoning trade outside the Middle East, including markets in East Africa, according to Manohar Panjabi, executive director, Jacky’s Gulf FZE, the Middle Eastern branch of the company. “In East Africa, we have outlets in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, and we export a lot of products to markets within Africa,” Panjabi told RNME. “We had a base in Jebel Ali where we were shipping and storing goods, and we saw that while the UAE market itself was growing, there was a lot of potential with growth in other areas; many people are using Dubai as a hub for getting into Africa.” The new distribution centre includes three loading and unloading bays, temperature regulated storage, individual pallet picking, and improved racking systems that give greater storage capacity. Jacky’s expects the facility to be particularly useful for its East African markets, where it sells FMCG foods including Heinz and John West brands, cosmetics and photographic equipment that needs storing at specific temperatures. Panjabi added that Jacky’s, which is best known in the Middle East for its electronics retail outlets, will continue to focus the FMCG side of its business on markets outside the UAE. “We’re looking at focusing on using the hub as a transit port for getting into Africa because most of the brands are very well established in this market and there are a lot of old players,” he said. “We feel that we have a better scope looking at developing markets rather than trying to grow this segment in the UAE.” Jacky’s is also planning further expansion of its Jebel Ali operations, Panjabi added. “We are also looking at expansion and seeing that the market is growing, we have looked at additional land area. We have taken additional land on the south side of Jebel Ali. Construction will start March 2006,” he said. But expanding into emerging markets also brings challenges, and Panjabi points to the governments of some East African countries, which are imposing restrictions on exporters, as just one potential stumbling block. “These are growing markets so there are a lot of issues where these countries are trying to improve their overall import levels and the quality of goods coming in,” Panjabi said. “You have new restrictions coming up as to the type of packaging that is allowed.” He added that local manufacturers in some of Jacky’s export markets are also likely to become more of a challenge. “Local production earlier was not that developed but even there the local manufacturing is coming up very quickly. Being import based, we see that as a challenge coming up. It’s easier for us to get the right product for the market because we are consolidating on brands.” Jacky’s, which started in 1970, as a Hong Kong-based mail order business, has operations in the Middle East, Africa and the Far East, all of which will be overseen by the main corporate office in Jebel Ali.

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