Al-Othaim Plans 30 More Stores

RIYADH, 19 July 2006 — A Saudi retail giant, Al-Othaim Holding Company, has announced plans to open an additional 30 stores at a cost of billions of riyals within the next four years to take advantage of the growth in the retail sector. These stores including 10 supermalls to be opened by 2010 that will allegedly provide jobs to over 1,300 Saudi youths.

In a press conference held here at the Four Seasons Hotel on Monday night, Abdullah Ibn Saleh Al-Othaim, CEO of Al-Othaim Holding Company, unveiled details of the expansion plan, while speaking on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Al-Othaim’s operation in the Kingdom. Top Al-Othaim Group’s executives, including Fahad Ibn Abdullah Al-Othaim, vice president, and Abdullah A. Al-Buthi, another vice president, also attended the press briefing.

The function concluded with a banquet dinner hosted by the company. Some 400 guests attended the event. Several leading businessmen of the Kingdom besides senior government officials, vendors, suppliers and senior management personnel of Al-Othaim Group were also present.

Referring to the expansion plan and the vision of the Al-Othaim Group, Abdullah said: “Our business focus had always been based on listening to our customers and delivering products and facilities that meet their specific requirements. This was one of the key reasons for our continued success in the retail markets.”

“Al-Othaim has finalized plans to open 12 huge malls and each mall will have a supermarket, fashion outlets, an entertainment center and a food court with a minimum space to park 800 cars at a time,” said Fahad, adding that five malls are currently under construction and three are under design and development. These malls will be in addition to the existing stores, which also have latest designs, new shelving systems and widened aisles, suitable for family shopping.

Fahad said that the expansion plan of retail outlets would cater to the needs of the people as the Kingdom also witnessed growth in terms of residential areas outside the traditional cities.

“In our view, it is essential to provide customers with strategically located outlets,” said another Othaim executive.

In fact, the Al-Othaim Group continued to grow through the years and consolidated its leadership in the retail sector.

Al-Othaim attributes its growth to the trend toward hypermarket shopping for all consumer needs rather than shopping at individual super centers or malls. Saudi shoppers spend 20 percent more than other Gulf customers with groceries and personal care items taking top position, according to a recent study by AN Nielsen. The study said that the women are the main shoppers in the UAE, while women shop less in the Kingdom, but they are a bigger influence. Also, entertainment is playing a major role in driving customers to shopping in this country, where population is also progressively growing with the growth in buying power.

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