Noon to be launched in Saudi Arabia by year end

Faraz Khalid
Updated 19 November 2017

Noon to be launched in Saudi Arabia by year end

Noon, the digital marketplace created in the region, for the region and powered by the region’s leading retailers, will be launched in Saudi Arabia before the end of this year, said Faraz Khalid, chief executive officer (CEO).
He was addressing a panel discussion titled “The World Next Door: What new Innovations are Reinventing E-Commerce” at the Future Investment Initiative (FII), organized by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) in Riyadh.
Launched earlier this month in the UAE, Noon has an initial capital outlay of $1 billion by the PIF and a group of prominent Gulf investors including Kuwait’s M.H. Alshaya & Co. among others. It is headquartered in Riyadh and has already put in place a dedicated distribution hub, distribution channels and a secure payment gateway for serving Saudi customers.
Noon has a dedicated delivery fleet in Saudi Arabia, with professionals who know the market, and also offers flexible payment solutions, said Khalid. “Noon is working not only with large Saudi retailers but also SMEs and start-ups so that we remain connected with our audience — and deliver the personalized experience they seek.”
Khalid said that the MENA region, specifically, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has the perfect environment for the next era of growth in e-commerce.
“While online sales are just 2 percent of the total retail in the Middle East, the market is fast evolving; an AT Kearney report states that online shopping will grow from $5.3 billion in 2015 to $20 billion by 2020.”
He said the digital savvy youth population, and the high levels of internet and smartphone penetration are the drivers of growth for the e-commerce market. “But this only forms the infrastructural back-up for digital enterprises. The key to leveraging the digital opportunity is to know your consumers and understand their aspirations. Noon is bringing an exciting assortment of brands at a great value, which we believe will be received well by our customers in our key markets – Saudi Arabia and the UAE. With both web and app-based experiences, Noon delivers what our customers need, where they need and how they need.”
Khalid said that Noon has created new jobs for Saudi talents and will focus on building the Kingdom’s SME sector. “The region’s most valuable resource is its digital-native youth. We are working with them, for them and the community to drive our next era of growth.”


LuLu opens iconic Scotland Yard Hotel in London

Updated 10 December 2019

LuLu opens iconic Scotland Yard Hotel in London

Twenty14 Holdings, the hospitality investment arm of UAE’s LuLu Group International, has completed investments of 1.43 billion dirhams ($389.4 million) in the UK, with the inauguration of the Great Scotland Yard in London. The hotel opened for business on Dec. 9.

The Great Scotland Yard was officially inaugurated by Nicky Morgan, secretary of state; Sir Edward Lister, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s chief strategic adviser; Mansoor Abulhoul, UAE ambassador to Britain; Mark Hoplamazian, global president and CEO, Hyatt Hotels; in the presence of Yusuffali M. A., chairman of Lulu Group; and Adeeb Ahmed, managing director of Twenty14 Holdings in London.

The historic property was acquired in 2015 for 550 million dirhams ($150 million), and the makeover of the hotel involved a further 250 million dirhams. In addition to the Great Scotland Yard, Twenty14 Holdings had acquired the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh — The Caledonian in Scotland in 2018 for 440 million dirhams. 

The Great Scotland Yard Hotel, which is being managed by Hyatt under their The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand, is located in the St. James’s district of Westminster. 

Steeped in history, the Great Scotland Yard was once a dwelling for visiting kings of Scotland during the Tudor period, while today the building is most famous as the former headquarters of the London Metropolitan Police force. In 1910, the building served as the British Army Recruitment Office and Royal Military Police headquarters.

LuLu chairman Ali said: “London is one of the world’s greatest cities and the Great Scotland Yard Hotel represents its illustrious past as well as its modern significance. The hotel spotlights the city’s vibrant history, its several celebrated aspects and its status as a global melting pot. In essence, we have curated an unmatched experience for every guest while recreating the historic premises into a symbol of ultimate hospitality.”

An 1820s Grade II listed building with Edwardian and Victorian architecture, the high-end luxury boutique hotel with seven floors and spanning 93,000 square feet, has 153 rooms and 15 suites apart from a two-bedroom townhouse VIP-suite created from part of the original Scotland Yard Police premises. The hotel also features a library, gymnasium, meeting/conference rooms, a 120-seater conference space/ballroom and VIP function rooms. 

Adeeb Ahamed, managing director, Twenty14 Holdings, said “The Great Scotland Yard Hotel is a dream come true for us, the culmination of a path set long ago, transforming one of the world’s most historic addresses into an icon of modern hospitality. Twenty14 Holdings’ focus remained steady right through, keeping the building’s reputation in mind, every effort made in its rebirth had to be extraordinary, beyond expectations. And, this is what has been accomplished. The Great Scotland Yard Hotel invites you to experience its myriad stories.”

The hotel offers multiple F&B options — The Yard, The Forty Elephants, The Parlour and Sibín — serving international and British modern food under the supervision of acclaimed chef and restaurateur Robin Gill.