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DOHA: Dutch food retailer SPAR International is set to open two stores in Qatar. With over 12,000 stores worldwide, the retailer is aiming to have 30 stores in the region by the end of 2015.
The stores in Qatar are expected to open this year. SPAR is also expected to open its doors in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Lebanon by the end of this year. The Qatari stores were originally scheduled to open by the end of 2012, a posting on SPAR website said.
The company will have eight stores in Abu Dhabi, two in Qatar and one in Lebanon by the end of this year, SPAR International Managing Director Gordon Campbell told Reuters in Abu Dhabi yesterday.
SPAR plans to expand further in the UAE and is also looking at entering Oman and Saudi Arabia over the next three years, he added. “Our focus will be on a range of fresh foods and the convenience of food to go and food to stay, with a seating area in the compact stores,” he said.
The UAE, where expatriates far outnumber local citizens, already has international retailers such as Carrefour and Geant as well as locally developed brands such as LuLu, so competition is intense. But Campbell said there was still room for growth.
“Wherever we go, they say the market is saturated. The reality is the food market is evolving always with new ideas and concepts,” he said. SPAR’s unique selling point will be its convenience stores and large supermarkets of around 1,800 square meters; other retailers in the region have focused on hypermarkets with sizes of around 10,000 square meters, Campbell said.