Dubai grocers upbeat on DED rules
Owners of supermarket chains say it is an investment for future of their business
Groceries in Dubai are upbeat and already working towards the recent changes proposed by the Department of Economic Development (DED) to be brought into effect by 2018. Popular household names in the sector such as Jaleel Holdings and Al Adil have hailed the proposed changes to improve the quality of services offered to consumers in Dubai.
The new criteria covers various basic and operational requirements, including unification of logo and business identity, colour scheme, signage, exterior finish, interior (fixtures and display units), storage area as well as fittings and lighting. The operational requirements should comply with the standards of the health and general safety department of the Dubai Municipality with regard to the store design, product display and classification, training, storage, health and personal hygiene, smoking and prohibited pets.
Although the new standards will be effective from the second half of 2016, groceries currently operating in Dubai will have time until the second half of 2018 to ensure full compliance with those standards.
Currently, more than 2,800 groceries are operational in Dubai. Before the changes were proposed, the business registration and licensing department of the DED held meetings with 140 grocery store owners. The DED expects 20 per cent of grocery stores to comply with the new standards by the end of 2016, and the remaining 80 per cent to complete the transition by 2018.
The DED proposed new criteria for licensing groceries in Dubai, with the aim of establishing a uniform identity for such stores and make them look consistent from inside and outside in line with international standards.
Khaleej Times spoke to Jaleel Holdings and Al Adil to check on the market pulse.
Headquartered in Dubai, Jaleel Holdings - a Dh1.3 billion top line company with a strong presence in trading and distribution of fast moving consumer goods - owns Jaleel Cash & Carry, Jaleel Distribution and J Mart supermarkets.
"With an improved layout and organised stocking and display, the groceries will get a makeover and become more customer-friendly. The improved exteriors and interiors will have a marked impact on customers. It should result in more business for groceries and greater satisfaction of customers," said Sameer K. Mohamed, managing director of Jaleel Holdings.
"We look at this as an opportunity to help our customers. A key requirement for the stores to abide by the new standards is reduction of clutter and stock within the store. We have already started working with some customers on a daily replenishment model so that they can reduce the stock at their end and give their shoppers more range."
Grocers are expecting other emirates to follow suit with similar initiatives. Mohamed said: "Investments for any business is not easy. However, the idea of giving time to the grocers to abide by the standards is very helpful. Apart from regulations, with the changing market scenario, better decor and ambience are a need of the hour. In a way, the new standards could be one reason for the extension of life of groceries."
Echoing similar sentiments, Al Adil - the popular Dubai brand which boasts of 31 branches and two spices and flour factories - is also in support of the proposed changes for groceries.
"We are very happy and feel positive about the new standards. It will enable us to raise our bar and become an integral part of Dubai's growth and development process. Dubai places great importance on providing nothing but the best and this is one more initiative in that direction," said Dhananjay Datar, chairman and managing director of Al Adil Trading.
"The standardisation will be a strong reflection of the growth that this city has undergone in diverse areas. It is the right time for all groceries to capitalise on the growth of Dubai and move forward. Consumers will benefit from a whole new shopping experience."
Datar explained that groceries should not see this upgrade of facilities as an expense. Rather, this should be seen as an investment for better growth and in the long run, it will result in more customers and higher sales. The Dubai economy is on a fast track growth mode and groceries should invest in the standardisation process in order to remain competitive and become an integral part of the growth that the city is witnessing.
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