IT helps smaller stores compete with hypers

Smaller supermarkets and grocery stores need to invest in the latest retail technology in order to compete with larger stores.

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By  Roger Field Published  December 11, 2006

Specialist retail technology firms are reporting significant growth in the Middle East, as hypermarket groups such as Carrefour, Geant, and HyperPanda continue to expand across the region, and smaller chains invest in technology in a bid to keep up with them. Symbol Technologies ME, a leading provider of retail technology based in the USA, has seen its business in the Middle East grow by about 40% a year in the past few years, according to Tarek Hassaniyeh, sales manager, Symbol Technologies ME. “On a Middle East level, we have seen a huge increase in our business in retail,” he said. “There is considerable growth here in the Middle East region that is coming from the international retail chains like Carrefour and Geant. We’re also seeing additional investments from local retailers investing in IT such as Emke Group.” But while the bigger supermarket groups have the money to invest in the latest technology, there are fears that much smaller grocery stores could lose out as a result of a lack of investment. “Some of the larger hypermarket groups look set to enter the territory traditionally dominated by smaller grocery stores, as the concept of the branded convenience store grows, and these smaller groceries are threatened,” Hassaniyeh said. For this reason, Symbol recently started marketing retail technology products that are within the price range of smaller stores. “We recently started to go out to bring products that are within the price range of everybody,” Hassaniyeh said. “We have smaller devices that are cost effective and do the job.” He added that Symbol Technologies Middle East is considering launching generic IT systems and equipment, such as scanners, targeted at smaller grocery stores.

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