A billionaire businessman and investor Yusuff Ali M. A., who heads the retail giant Lulu Group, announced that the group will go ahead with the SR1.5 billion ambitious expansion plan in the Kingdom, as the “Saudi economy is strong and in good shape to meet challenges.”

Yusuff Ali said that he is optimistic about the prospects of economy in general as well as the confidence in the country’s trustworthiness.
“The Kingdom and its economy under the visionary leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, deputy premier and minister of interior; and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, minister of defense; will be stronger and prosper to new highs,” said Yusuff Ali, Lulu Group chairman, while opening the 121st Lulu Hypermarket store in Dammam recently.
He said that “the support and love extended by the rulers of the Kingdom gives us further impetus to serve the growing economy of this country.”
The Lulu chief further said that “Lulu is committed to do its bit by opening more outlets, thereby generating employment opportunities for talented Saudis in retail sector.
To this end, he noted that Lulu will provide employment to more than 5,000 Saudis by the end 2017.
Revealing his investment plans, Yusuff Ali said: “We have already invested more than SR800 million till now and intend to further invest SR700 million by the end of 2017, taking our total investment to more than SR1.5 billion in the Kingdom”.
This will provide more opportunities for Saudis to be trained and hired in Lulu’s operations across the Kingdom, he said, while adding that the total number of Saudis currently on Lulu’s payroll exceeds 1500.
The Lulu chief also reiterated that “we have always believed that it’s our duty to nurture the local talent…and our goal is to provide employment to 5000 Saudi nationals by the end of 2017.”
Currently, Lulu has more than 30 percent Saudi nationals in their workforce.
Lulu, he said, also provides best quality training to Saudi youngsters with an aim to eventually absorb them in various positions in Lulu’s stores.
Referring to the economic reforms announced by the Kingdom, the Lulu chief said that the annual general budget announced by King Salman recently represents the beginning of an integrated and comprehensive working program to build a strong economy.
He quoted the king as saying that “the economy is strong and capable to meet the challenges despite a sharp fall in oil prices and a slow global growth.”

“The new budget will boost public spending and will further bolster the relations between the public and the private sectors,” said the king, while speaking during the budget presentation session.
Quoting these words of king, the Lulu chief said that the optimism of the Saudi leaders, especially the king, has been instrumental in building confidence and emboldening the initiatives of the private sector.
Referring to the future expansion plan of Lulu Group in Saudi Arabia, which will go ahead uninterrupted; Yusuff Ali announced the launch of four hypermarkets this year — two in Jeddah, one in Hail and another one in Hofuf.
“In 2017, we will open six more hypermarkets in the Kingdom including in the holy cities of Makkah and Medinah”, said the Lulu chairman, while speaking after the opening of the new hypermarket in Dammam early this month.
The new hypermarket, located on Prince Mohamed bin Fahad Road in Dammam, provides a one-stop shopping destination for the growing city gentry, which includes hundreds of thousands of Saudis and expatriates.  
The hypermarket also houses family entertainment, food court consisting of authentic Arabic fine dining, Arabic and Filipino cuisine, and coffee shops, besides pharmacy, ATMs and money exchange outlet.
The opening of the hypermarket in Dammam underscores Lulu’s increasing presence in the region and its commitment to serve one of the growing and important markets in Saudi Arabia.
It’s the 6th hypermarket in the Kingdom and 121st in the GCC.
The hypermarket was officially inaugurated by Prince Saud bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, January 13.
The occasion was graced by Abdullah Al-Ahamed, chief of Dammam municipality, and several high-ranking Saudi officials and businessmen.
Yusuff Ali congratulated Abdul Basheer, Lulu’s regional director, and his team on the successful opening of the Dammam store.
Prominent among many other guests, who attended the spectacular opening ceremony in Dammam, included top Lulu group executives like Ashraf Ali MA, Althaf Mohamed, Salim MA, Mohammed Shehim and Mohammed Mustafa. Today, Lulu Group with its 36,000 strong workforce from 37 different nations is one of the most successful corporates of the times with a steadily ascending growth curve over the years.
With an annual turnover more about $6 billion globally, Yusuff Ali is equally active on the social front and is associated with various charity organizations. In recognition of his remarkable achievements in business and industry and his distinguished services in the field of social work, he was conferred the prestigious Padma Shri award by Indian government.
Yusuff Ali is very closely involved in many social, charitable and humanitarian activities both in India as well as in Gulf countries.
As a true son of India, Yusuff Ali has always strived to bring in foreign investments and expertise to India especially to Kerala for various infrastructural development projects, prime among them being the first and only international airport with private participation, in Cochin of which he is a director.
There is long list of his awards, commendations and his social services, which have few parallels in human history in contemporary world.

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