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EMKE opens stores at rapid pace

Retailer Emke Group is planning to open 12 hypermarkets and shopping malls as part of an aggressive expansion plan.

Abu Dhabi-based retailer Emke Group is set to open 12 hypermarkets and shopping malls in the GCC as part of an aggressive expansion plan.

The new hypermarkets, which will have floor space of between 200,000 ft² and 250,000 ft², are earmarked for Oman, Yemen, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

At least three of the hypermarkets, which are being rolled out under the Lulu name in Yemen, Kuwait, and Omar, are due to open before the end of 2005. Another hypermarket is set to open in Dubai’s Barsha district in 2006, and two shopping malls, of between 1 million ft² and 1.5 million ft² are planned for Abu Dhabi.

“Our endeavor will be to expand our presence across the Sultanate and to bring modern shopping benefits within easy reach of the entire population,” Yusuff Ali, managing director of Emke Group, told RNME.

“We are going ahead with our aggressive expansion plans across the GCC and are planning to enter new markets in Africa, India and other nearby regions.

“Lulu has always focused on shopper satisfaction and this has been the single most significant factor for its phenomenal growth and popularity,” he added.

These latest projects will consolidate Emke Group’s strong reputation in the Middle East’s retail sector, and follow a series of significant developments in the first half of 2005, which saw Emke open a 70,000 ft² Lulu Centre in Umm Al Quwain and a 450,000ft² Lulu Hypermarket in Ajman. Both stores stock food and non-food products.

“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,” Ali explained.

“These 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.”

Recent analysis released by Godo Research and Marketing Consultancy, and published by Gulf News, concluded that Indian-owned Emke Group controls 32% of the organised retail sector in the Middle East, leaving behind competitors including Co-op societies, Carrefour and Spinneys.

Emke Group operates 47 Lulu hypermarkets and supermarkets in the UAE, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait. The group has sales of about $752 million a year. The company has also confirmed plans to take Lulu into Saudi Arabia, most likely through a joint venture or partnership.

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