Heirs to the throne: Britain’s Prince Charles honors Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Saudi Crown Prince with Britain's Prince Charles and Prince William. (SPA)
Updated 08 March 2018
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Heirs to the throne: Britain’s Prince Charles honors Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was received by Britain’s heir to the throne Prince Charles on Wednesday evening.
The Prince of Wales held a dinner for the crown prince who had, earlier in the day, been welcomed by Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace.
Prince Mohammed is on a three-day visit to Britain.
He met British Prime minister Theresa May at Downing Street, where Saudi Arabia and the UK set out an ambition to build 65 billion pounds ($90.29 billion) of trade and investment ties in coming years.


Lulu celebrates ‘decade of success’ in Saudi Arabia

Updated 14 min 15 sec ago
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Lulu celebrates ‘decade of success’ in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: When retail giant Lulu landed in the Saudi marketplace in 2009, the company ushered in a shopping revolution that changed what consumers — Saudis and expatriates alike — expected from their local stores.
“Many trends have come and gone, but the Lulu Group has cultivated a loyalty with consumers that most of its competitors would envy,” said Yusuff Ali M. A., chairman of the Indian-owned Lulu Group, while speaking on the occasion of Saudi national day.
Yusuff Ali said: “Lulu will be celebrating a successful decade of its operation in Saudi Arabia next year. With a modest beginning in 2009, Lulu Group is operating 13 world-class hypermarkets in the Kingdom today.” He pointed out that Lulu Group has crossed a major milestone as the leading retailer in the region by opening its 150th hypermarket in Riyadh recently.
He also announced to attempt a world record by creating the “World’s largest Lego Brick Mosaic” with image of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman on Nov. 16, 2018.
Located at the newly launched Atyaf Mall in Yarmouk district of the Saudi capital, this mega Lulu hypermarket, the 13th store in the country, is spread across 220,000 square feet.
Ali extended greetings to King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, senior Saudi officials and citizens of the country. He also recalled the progressively growing relations between the Kingdom and India on the one hand and between Saudi Arabia and Lulu Group on the other. He said that “India and Saudi Arabia have, in recent years, shared a healthy bilateral equation based on mutual interests — extensive trade, investment, cultural contacts, and growing security cooperation.”
Referring to the ambitious expansion plan of Lulu Group in the Kingdom, which led to the opening of the biggest Lulu Hypermarket in Riyadh recently, the Lulu chief said: “We are absolutely delighted to open our new hypermarket in Riyadh and I am sure the shoppers here will be pleased by the new retail experience we have created here. Through our internationally sourced quality products and enthusiastic staff, Lulu has been the most preferred destination for different nationalities and we will continue to preserve this identity with our new store.
“We attribute our success to the wise and visionary leadership of King Salman, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, the government and the people of this great country, who have always given tremendous support to investments and economic development.
“We see tremendous growth opportunities in the Kingdom, and we are glad to be part of the 2030 Vision by further expanding our presence here. We will open another 15 hypermarkets by 2020 at an investment of SR1 billion ($0.27 billion) out of which five will be opened this year.” This includes three hypermarkets in Riyadh, followed by one each in Tabuk and Dammam, he noted.
He pointed out that “this is apart from the SR1 billion we have already invested in the Kingdom till now.” On the manpower front, he revealed a massive plan for employing Saudi nationals. He said: “Currently, our group employs more than 3,000 Saudi nationals, out of which 1,400 are ladies, which represents 40 percent Saudization. And our goal is to give employment to 6,000 Saudi nationals by the end of 2020.”
He said Lulu Group has in place a very elaborate and effective multilevel training program through which the group not only train staff here but also send the local recruits to other regions in the GCC and India for training in various departments. “We have also tied up with Saudi vocational institutions and universities for training our staffers,” he added.
Referring to the local sourcing of materials, Shehim Mohammed, director of Lulu Group’s operations in Saudi Arabia, said: “Lulu Group is committed to procure and sell more local products since the desire for more locally raised products has grown also. We have been supporting the processes that move these Saudi-grown items from the fields, bakeries, and small factories to the shelves.
“As demand increases, everyone from suppliers to distributors and retailers are working to innovate a process that, at its core, relies on sourcing products from many producers of the Kingdom. A range of Saudi produce right from vegetables, fish, fruits, cosmetics, juice, candies, drinks, software and hardware to fashion and footwear can be found well-stocked in our hypermarkets.”
Shehim added: “Apart from the retail expansion, we are investing SR200 million in setting up a 1 million sq. ft. state-of-the-art wholesale and logistics center in King Abdullah Economic City, which will not only support our retail expansion but also help in ensuring food security.”
Lulu today is the top retailer in the Middle East and the fastest-growing hypermarket business worldwide. Garnering more than 1,100,000 shopping patrons every day, it is the fastest-growing retail chain across 10 countries that include the GCC, India, Egypt, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Founded in the early 1990s, it has successfully expanded to different parts of the world and currently operates 150 stores with a workforce of more than 46,000.