Union Coop, the largest cooperative retail group in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is on schedule to double its number of branches to 34 in four years from the current 17, a top official said.
Majiruddin Khan, Director, Trading Division, Union Coop Group, said the group will open four to five outlets this year followed by similar numbers next year, thus doubling the total to 34 in the next four years.
"First we want to cover most of Dubai and then move on to Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. Next opening is in Umm Al Quwain, which will be completed by July-August 2021 for which construction has already started. There was some delay due to the pandemic, but we are fast catching up according to our schedule," he said.
Khan added that the expansion projects will be funded through internal accruals.
Last month, Union Coop opened Al Warqa City Mall, its third mall in the UAE.
"We are coming up with two more outlets much bigger than the Al Warqa mall; The location will be Al Khawaneej area and another elsewhere in Dubai," Khan added.
The CEO earlier said that the group is planning to launch three new stores, in Al Barsha, Dubai Sports City and Jumeirah, by the end of next year.
Though the UAE consumer retail market is getting crowded, the cooperative is confident of better performance in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic and competition.
"So far this year, we have grown by 11 to 12 percent. We have been growing in double digits and we will continue the same growth momentum till December 2020, and we look forward to even better performance in 2021," he said.
Union Coop has presence in all the three clusters, hyper market, super market and neighbourhood markets, to reach out to all classes of consumers. The expansion strategy is on these lines, the official said.
"Our expansion plan is such that we always believe in stand-by stores, with a size of 40,000 - 50,000 square feet. Another two or three malls are coming up, The hypermarkets will be of up to 80,000 sq feet," Khan said.
With the popularity of e-commerce catching up, more so during the lockdown following the pandemic, Union Coop has seen the share of online sales in total sales growing by 7 percent this year. The group is also getting aggressive in its online grocery promotion and will be launching new apps in January, March, May and December 2021 to enhance its delivery efficiency.
(Reporting by Bhaskar Raj; Editing by Anoop Menon)
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