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Group Casino, Retail Arabia in deal to open Geant stores in Qatar, Oman

Group Casino and Retail Arabia join hands with Al Meera to get the Géant brand to Qatar and Oman

Gulf News

Dubai: French retailer Group Casino together with Retail Arabia, said, they have joined hands with local powerhouse Al Meera under a franchise agreement allowing Al Meera to develop and operate hypermarkets and supermarkets under the Géant, Géant easy brands in Qatar and Oman.

"This new agreement will enable Group Casino and Retail Arabia to develop its brands in these two lucrative markets which have a tremendous potential for growth. The partnership will strengthen the Géant hypermarket, Géant easy supermarket brands overall presence in GCC countries. Retail Arabia has successfully launched both the brands and currently operates 10 stores across UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain with aggressive plans to expand," according to a statement.

The international expertise of Groupe Casino, combined with the local market insight of Retail Arabia has created the best local adaptation of international standards in retailing. Together they will provide know-how and support to Al Meera for launching and operating the Géant hypermarket and Géant easy supermarkets in Qatar and Oman

This franchise agreement comes close on the heels of a supply agreement signed with Al Meera earlier in 2011 which granted Al Meera the right to exclusively sell Casino-branded products in Qatar.

Building on this, Al Meera is now set to launch both the brands across Qatar and Oman to offer customers quality products at the lowest prices plus the convenience of one stop shopping for all their needs.

Arif Shaikh, Director of Retail Arabia, said: "Our decision to extend the franchise agreement to Al Meera was based on the tremendous potential we see for retailing in Qatar and Oman and we look forward to the expansion of the Géant and Géant easy brands in these two countries. This will strengthen the brands in the GCC and give us economies of scale with suppliers to negotiate good deals and prices to ensure our customers get maximum value."

A multi-format group, French retailer Casino is one of the world leaders of food trade. Its performance, which has steadily progressed over several years, is based upon an international network of multi-formatted distribution means, including hypermarkets, and e-commerce. This "precision retailing" represents a contemporary alternative to the mass retail industry of the past.

Commenting on the partnership, Patrick Lasfargues, Business Partnerships Director at Group Casino, said: "We are delighted to be bring the Géant and Géant easy brands to Qatar and Oman for the first time and we see this as a start of a great partnership."

With 11,000 outlets and employing close to 250,000 people, Casino is present in close to a dozen countries, and the agreement with Al Meera will give the group an additional foothold in the region.

Al Meera is the leader of the Qatari retail market. Al Meera is going through a very aggressive organic expansion, and plans to open more than 50,000 sqm multi-format stores by the end of 2013. Al Meera operates currently 22 stores and plans to operate 40 stores by 2013 end. Al Meera network is mainly supermarket with plans to break into hypermarket format in the near future.

Guy Sauvage, CEO of Al Meera, said: "Al Meera is committed to bringing world class retailers and unique concepts to Qatar and Oman, offering residents in our communities the best possible choice."

Retail Arabia is a part of BMA International. The group's business interests span across hypermarkets, supermarkets, convenience stores, malls and value fashion & home stores. The group serves an average of over 100,000 customers per day across the GCC and levant region.

In 1999, Retail Arabia acquired the franchise for operating Géant hypermarkets in leading GCC markets. Retail Arabia launched the first Géant hypermarket in Bahrain in 2001, followed by Dubai in 2005 and Kuwait in 2009. Along with Géant, Retail Arabia has also successfully launched its supermarket brand Géant easy and convenience store brands in Bahrain, Dubai and Kuwait. Currently it owns and operates over 10 stores with aggressive plans to expand both the brands in these key markets.