Saudi online grocery shoppers to get helping hand from Carrefour robots

Carrefour is turning to robots to fulfil online grocery orders in the Kingdom. (Reuters)
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Updated 29 January 2020

Saudi online grocery shoppers to get helping hand from Carrefour robots

  • Dubai-based Majid Al Futtaim has struck a deal with Takeoff, a US-based technology company that will automate online grocery purchases in the two countries
  • The Takeoff technology can process 2,000 orders per day from a space of 1,500 sq m

LONDON: Carrefour is set to use robots to pack online grocery orders in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Dubai-based Majid Al Futtaim has struck a deal with Takeoff, a US-based technology company that will automate online grocery purchases in the two countries. Under the partnership, several micro-fulfilment centers will be built by next year.

Located at select Carrefour stores, these mini warehouses will process Carrefour’s online orders to replace the manual picking method currently used.

Customers will be able to place orders through Carrefour online with Takeoff’s automated technology ensuring that robots within the MFCs fulfil the order in less than 5 minutes for pick-up or delivery, Majid Al Futtaim said.

“Once in place, Majid Al Futtaim will be the first grocery retailer to use this technology in the Middle East as we look to scale up our e-grocery business," said Hani Weiss, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim — Retail.

Fierce competition among grocery retailers worldwide is encouraging the use of automation and technology to monitor and anticipate customer shopping habits.

The Takeoff technology can process 2,000 orders per day from a space of 1,500 sq m. The idea is that these mini fulfillment centers will be based within Carrefour stores located in communities where customers live and shop.

Carrefour is one of the largest hypermarket and supermarket chains in the world. The brand was launched in the region in 1995 by Majid Al Futtaim, which is the exclusive franchisee to operate Carrefour in over 30 countries across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

 


Saudi PIF unit SEVEN to build theme parks and entertainment centers across the Kingdom

Updated 25 February 2020

Saudi PIF unit SEVEN to build theme parks and entertainment centers across the Kingdom

  • Plans include 20 entertainment destinations, 50 cinemas and two large theme parks in prime locations across the Kingdom
  • Each complex will feature several entertainment and leisure choices including cinemas, play areas, rides and F&B outlets

LONDON: The Saudi Entertainment Ventures Company (SEVEN) plans to develop theme parks and entertainment centers around the country.
Plans include 20 entertainment destinations, 50 cinemas and two large theme parks in prime locations across the Kingdom, the Public Investment Fund unit said in a statement on Tuesday.
Each complex will feature several entertainment and leisure choices including cinemas, play areas, rides, F&B, attractions and more. 
“We are committed to realizing the goals of Saudi Vision 2030 to accelerate the creation of world-class entertainment assets in the Kingdom that support economic diversification, create new jobs, and contribute to socio-economic progress,” said SEVEN Chairman Abdullah Al-Dawood. “Our complexes will position the Kingdom as an entertainment, culture and tourism hub of the region.”
The new attractions are planned for cities that include Jeddah, Jazan, Taif, Tabuk and Yanbu as well as the Holy Cities of Makkah and Madinah.
In the capital the entertainment center at Al Hamra will serve the densely populated suburbs of north east Riyadh, with some 2.5 million people living within a 30 minute drive. In Dammam and Al Khobar, SEVEN is also developing new waterfront attractions.
Entertainment is expected to be a key driver for Saudi economic growth over the next four years according to a report released this week by CBRE, the international real estate broker.
In addition to the new entertainment centers announced by the PIF, a number of other high-profile projects are underway, including the Qiddiya Entertainment City, The Red Sea Project, AMAALA, Al Ula, King Salman Park and Riyadh Sport Boulevard.
The retail and hospitality sectors are expected to benefit from the entertainment boom with total retail space in the capital expected to reach 3.5 million square meters (sq m) of gross leasable area by 2024. By 2024, Jeddah’s retail market is expected to witness considerable supply growth, reaching over 2 million sq m. 
As of 2019, the Kingdom received about 59 million tourist trips and these figures are expected to continue to increase to 100 million tourist trips by 2024.
“It is clear that Saudi Arabia remains one of the game changers in the entertainment sectors globally,” said CBRE MENAT Managing Director Nicholas Maclean.