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Carrefour opens biggest hypermarket in ME

BY JAMILA QADIR / 30 September 2005

DUBAI — The biggest Carrefour hypermarket in the Middle East opened in the Mall of Emirates on Wednesday. The new store features 13,400 square metres of selling area in addition to 2,000 square metres of storage area.

Franck Moreau, general manager, Carrefour, Mall of the Emirates branch, the group is planning to further expand in the Middle East region, including Saudi Arabia, where it has two shops, Egypt with three outlets, Oman and Qatar, where it has one shop in each country.

The group is also planning to expand into Kuwait, Jordan and Iran. “There are many projects in the pipe-line in our five-year plan.” While in the UAE Carrefour is represented by MAF Hypermarket, in other Middle Eastern countries it has partnerships with local investors.

The company currently has 10 outlets in the UAE, including four stores in Dubai, two in Abu Dhabi, and one each in Al Ain, Sharjah, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah. One more store is planned for Dubai in Mirdiff in the near future, he said.

According to Moreau, the Mall of the Emirates branch has many new concepts introduced for the first time. “We have introduced more ranges and services in the new outlet,” he said.

These include a coffee shop just adjacent to the hypermarket, an Arabic pastry shop, a soushi bar in the food department and a new perfume concept, where in addition to buying products, customers can also get free beauty consultation.

The new Carrefour outlet also has a toys corner  — a dedicated kids play area, a big digital world and game play station areas, where customers not only can buy products, but test them before purchasing.

“We tried to enhance the ambiance of comfort in the shop and make it customer friendly,” he explained.

Moreau, who previously spent three years in Ajman City Centre as a food department manager and two years in Deira City Centre as a general manager, said that for the opening the hypermarket, which has over 50,000 items on its shelves, was offering some promotions to run up to October 7 to be followed by the Ramadan promotion. 

He also said that the store was not planning to hike its prices due to the raising cost of fuel. He said: “We do not have reasons to increase our prices as we are not linked to high oil prices. The only impact of high oil prices in our business is the constant raise in plastic bags and other plastic items prices by our suppliers.”

The cost of plastic bags that are used to pack customers’ purchases are increasing every two months or so, but it does not affect the store prices in general and the new Carrefour prices will be still competitive compared to other hypermarkets in the country.

 
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