Lulu celebrates ‘decade of success’ in Saudi Arabia

Lulu Group Chairman Yusuff Ali M.A., 2nd left, celebrates opening of the 150th store globally in Riyadh recently. (AN photo)
Updated 23 September 2018

Lulu celebrates ‘decade of success’ in Saudi Arabia

  • Yusuff Ali extended greetings to King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, senior Saudi officials and citizens of the country

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.

Photo exhibition recalls 90 years of Saudi-Lebanon ties

Updated 19 August 2019

Photo exhibition recalls 90 years of Saudi-Lebanon ties

  • Thousands of photos on display
  • Ties ‘rooted’ in history, says Kingdom’s ambassador

BEIRUT: Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Lebanon Walid Bukhari and Lebanon’s Minister of Information Minister of Information Jamal Jarrah on Monday inaugurated a photography exhibition celebrating 90 years of bilateral relations.

The King Abdul Aziz Foundation for Research and Archives and the Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain Cultural Foundation provided the embassy in Lebanon with historical documents and photos for the exhibition, which was launched on World Photography Day. Some of the material dates back more than 90 years.

Bukhari said the exhibition’s content proved that the countries’ relations were rooted in history and recalled the words of King Abdul Aziz bin Abdulrahman, who said: “Lebanon is part of us. I protect its independence myself and will not allow anything to harm it.”

Jarrah, who was representing Prime Minister Saad Hariri, said: “We need this Arab embrace in light of the attacks targeting the Arab region and we still need the Kingdom’s support for Lebanon’s stability, because Lebanon is truly the center from which Arabism originated.”

The exhibition starts with a document appointing Mohammed Eid Al-Rawaf as the Kingdom’s consul in Syria and Lebanon. It was signed by King Abdul Aziz bin Abdulrahman Al-Faisal Al-Saud in 1930 and states that the consul’s residence is in Damascus and that his mission is to “promote Saudi merchants, care for their affairs and assist them with their legal and commercial interests.”

Black and white pictures summarize milestones in the development of bilateral relations, while others depict key visits and meetings between leaders and dignitaries.

“The exhibition demanded great efforts because the pieces were not found at one single location,” former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora told Arab News. “Circulating this activity in the Kingdom’s embassies in numerous countries is a great step and has pushed the Lebanese Ministry of Information to benefit from this archive. The Lebanese people remember the important positions the Kingdom has taken over the year to support their independence and sovereignty and in hard times.”

Lebanon, particularly Beirut, is a hit with Saudi travelers although the Kingdom had been advising citizens since 2011 to avoid the country, citing Hezbollah’s influence and instability from the war in neighboring Syria. 

But the easing of restrictions since February has led to a surge in Saudis heading to Lebanon.

Riyadh earlier this year released $1 billion in funding and pledged to boost Lebanon’s struggling economy. Another sign of warming ties was an anniversary event marking the 2005 assassination of Hariri’s father that featured Saudi Royal Court adviser Nizar Al-Aloula as a keynote speaker.

“The exhibition highlights the unique model of Lebanese-Arab relations that should be taught in diplomatic institutes, starting with the Lebanese Foreign Ministry,” former minister Marwan Hamadeh told Arab News. “Over the course of 90 years, we have had brotherly ties and political support for independence, freedom, growth, economy and culture and then the Taif Accord (which ended the Lebanese Civil War). Even after that, when Lebanon engaged in military adventures, the Kingdom was there to help with reconstruction and we are proud of these relations.”

Highlights include a recording of King Faisal telling President Charles Helou about the need to strengthen “brotherhood in the face of the aggression targeting our countries without respecting the sanctity of holy sites and international, human and moral norms to extend its influence not only in the region but across the world.”

There are also photos from a recent meeting that brought together King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Lebanese officials. 

An old broadcast recording can be heard saying that the “tragedy of the Lebanese civil war can only be ended by affirming the Lebanese legitimacy and preserving its independence and territorial integrity.”

The exhibition is on at Beit Beirut, which is located on what used to be the frontline that divided the city during the civil war.