Emke enters Yemen with country’s first hypermarket

Yemen’s first hypermarket looks set to kick-start modernisation in the country’s retail sector

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By  Roger Field Published  October 5, 2006

LuLu Hypermarkets, a division of UAE-based Emke group, has become the first hypermarket group to open a store in Yemen. The 60,000 sq ft store, which is based in the Aden Mall, in the city of Aden, was officially opened in September by Mr Ahmed Mohammed Al-Kuhlani, Governor of Aden Governorate. V. Nandakumar, Emke’s marketing director is optimistic that the hypermarket, which has dedicated sections for product categories including fresh food to garments and electronic goods, will perform well in Yemen’s retail market, which has lagged behind those of other Middle East countries, such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia. “The response in the first 10 days has been very encouraging and has surpassed our expectation from the Aden market,” Nandakumar told Retail News Middle East. “We definitely think this will bring about some kind of a change in retail in Yemen. “We hope to see more players…Yemen after all is a very good market. Our brand of value-for-money shop will always work well.” Nandakumar added that Yemen is behind many other countries in the region in terms of an organised retail sector. “It’s not something you can compare with Dubai or other developed countries. In that way it is slightly behind but we think it will be fast catching up and we see big potential there,” Nandakumar said. Emke is looking to open two more stores in Yemen, with one of these stores set to open in the country’s capital city, Sanaa. While Emke is the first hypermarket player to open a store in Yemen, other companies are likely to follow its lead. French hypermarket group Carrefour is already rumoured to be interested in the country, Nandakumar added. The opening of the hypermarket is also likely to kick-start modernisation in Yemen’s FMCG retail sector, which has traditionally been dominated by small and medium sized grocers. “We find it a very interesting market,” Nandakumar said. Emke’s latest hypermarket is the company’s 51st outlet. Yusuffali MA, managing director Emke Group, said: “We have rapidly expanded across the GCC countries and this invaluable experience has strengthened us to set our sights farther…into new opportunity areas. “We are proud to serve the people of Yemen, one of the citadels of early civilizations in the region and hope to add new outlets to other cities in the country as well,” he added. Aden’s LuLu hypermarket is the 51st outlet of Emke Group’s expanding network of outlets, which covers supermarkets, department stores and hypermarkets and is extending to shopping malls across the Gulf. The Group employs more than 14,500 people of 28 nationalities and has operational bases in major trade points across Asia, Africa and the Middle East region.

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