Abu Dhabi: The highlights of the new system include a uniform look for all grocery stores under the brand name “Baqala” (which means grocery in Arabic).

There will be a visually appealing and consumer-friendly allocation of space within the stores, food preservation will be improved, shelves will be less cluttered and there will be uniforms for workers.

New requirements also include security systems, cash registers, cooler boxes, clearly displayed prices, storage rooms, overhead storage cabinets, a clear shopfront and wider aisles. There are optional items for adding value, such as ATMs, coffee counters and microwaves.

Many major retail chains, including global players, have also started opening grocery stores in Abu Dhabi to fill the vacuum to be created by the closure of stores.

Spinneys, Snacks, Adnoc Oasis, Select Express, Circle K and Spar among others are the new players in the market. Some of them said they would provide a home delivery service in residential neighbourhoods.

A Government of Abu Dhabi-assigned study by an agency on the retail sector in the city concluded that Abu Dhabi residents spent about Dh3.4 billion in 2010 on food and drinks and other consumer goods. Out of this number, small grocery stores accounted for Dh1 billion of business.

The committee said the Baqala project was in tune with Abu Dhabi’s Development Vision for 2030 and was aimed at achieving the goals of environmental sustainability and health and safety in the retail sector.