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Abu Dhabi’s small groceries face pressure from the big names

Bigger players start offering home deliveries

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi:It was almost a year ago that the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) introduced a new set of standards to modernise grocery stores across the capital. The move aimed at gradually changing the look and level of standards of the nearly 1,300 grocery stores to comply with the emirate’s 2030 vision.

According to the Authority, groceries would have wider aisles, more organised displays and would also house ATM machines, small kitchens for snacks and coffee counters.

While these rules remain pending, smaller groceries seem to be faced with yet another challenge — this time in the form of competition from bigger stores. It was only two weeks ago that Choithram in Khalidiyah put up a sign announcing its home delivery service for a minimum bill of Dh50 for customers within the neighbourhood — a service that had long been the territory of smaller groceries in the UAE.

A grocery usually does an average of 100 home deliveries a day, according to feedback received by Gulf News. Some are even made for purchases of Dh2 only.

“If it’s a regular customer and he wants a can of coke, then I’ll make the delivery,” an employee of New Palace Grocery in Khalidiyah said.

Grocery stores like New Palace are worried that their business will start to suffer if big stores start introducing home delivery services. “I’m worried about it,” the employee who wished to remain anonymous said. “This is what we do in small shops. [At the end], the decision will be made on price.”

On that same street, there are about 10 grocery stores. At Taj Store, a neighbouring grocery, there are concerns as well. However, a good summer season and Ramadan coming up have kept them hopeful.

Some groceries have said that they don’t make deliveries further than a block down the road. At Al Fakhira Grocery, deliveries don’t even reach where Choithram is located, the store employee said. “I didn’t know about their new service.”