LuLu opens first women-led store in Kingdom

LuLu opens first women-led store in Kingdom
The new LuLu Express is led by an all-female team, consisting of the general manager, cashiers and others, which signifies the group’s effort to empower more Saudi women.
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Updated 11 February 2021

LuLu opens first women-led store in Kingdom

LuLu opens first women-led store in Kingdom

The UAE-based retailer LuLu Group has opened its first store led by an all-women staff in the Kingdom, in a pioneering move designed at reaffirming the group’s commitment to the economic empowerment of Saudi women in line with the Vision 2030 reform plan.

The soft opening of the new LuLu Express, located in Jeddah’s Al-Jamiah district, further strengthens the retailer’s presence in the western region of Saudi Arabia, thereby increasing its total store count to 201 globally. 

“Apart from introducing innovative shopping platforms, we are proud to announce that this is our very first store led by our female team, from the general manager to the cashiers, which signifies our effort to empower more Saudi women in the workforce,” said Shehim Mohammed, director of LuLu Hypermarkets Saudi Arabia

He added: “At present, we employ 3,000 Saudi nationals including 800 women in all the hypermarkets across the country in various positions and our aim is to encourage more women in our organization, thereby ensuring Saudi women’s economic participation.”

Maha Mohammed Alqarni, general manager of the newly launched store, said: “I am extremely happy to be part of LuLu Group’s first ever store that is fully managed by women. This is such a great honor for me to represent the growing community of Saudi women who are supporting the progress of the country’s economic activities and aiming to share their skills, making a greater contribution to the public.” 

Located near King Abdul Aziz University, in a retail space of 37,000 square feet, the express store — which is the 20th in Saudi Arabia — is home to a wide variety of globally sourced products, such as grocery essentials, fresh food, health and beauty, household and much more. 

“The LuLu brand has always been known for catering to shoppers based not only in city centers, but also in the outskirts and suburbs, where people do not need to drive long distances. We are committed to providing world-class shopping and we shall continue meeting the lifestyle needs of our clientele base,” said Mohammed. 

In view of the COVID-19 crisis and public movement restrictions, an inaugural function was not held. To support the government’s mandate, LuLu only permits entry to shoppers who have downloaded the Tawakkalna app as a safety precaution. 

In the midst of the pandemic, LuLu has played a crucial role in ensuring an uninterrupted supply of food and non-food products, while maintaining the highest standards of hygiene, health and safety of both its customers and employees. Enhanced sanitization programs and social distancing norms are being adhered to as per industry protocols.


Virtual summit to explore GCC-UK trade opportunities

Virtual summit to explore GCC-UK trade opportunities
Updated 08 May 2021

Virtual summit to explore GCC-UK trade opportunities

Virtual summit to explore GCC-UK trade opportunities

British government figures indicate that the UK trade with the Middle East amounts to $57.2 billion annually, with the Gulf region accounting for $50.8 billion. The two regions are experiencing a time of advantageous trade opportunities and a period of rapid growth and diversification.

With so many opportunities for bilateral trade and investment, the upcoming virtual GCC-UK Trade Summit, organized by Add Enterprise International, will bring together commercial opportunities, experts, live projects, and potential suppliers to explore and encourage trade and investment over the next decade. The event, on June 29, will include the participation of more than 40 speakers and 400 attendees.

The GCC-UK Trade Summit aims to facilitate foreign direct investment, business, and trade between the GCC and the UK, providing a platform for businesses to expand into new markets and build networks. It will present some of the most prominent projects currently underway in the GCC, providing updates and highlighting investment and cooperation opportunities.

The summit will also host insightful discussions and presentations on subjects that are most relevant to the UK and GCC business communities, delivering key insights through expert speaker panels, case studies, sectoral analysis, high-level conversations, interviews, and networking opportunities.

Delegates will hear from a lineup of industry-leading figures, interviewers, and senior management of megaprojects including: Dr. Abdel-Aziz Aluwaisheg, assistant secretary-general for political and negotiation affairs, GCC; Jay Rosen, chief financial officer of The Red Sea Development Company and AMAALA; Julian Lynn, regional head, Middle East and Asia Pacific, UK Export Finance; Alistair Gosling, advisory board member, Qiddiya; Frank Kane, senior business editor and anchor of Frankly Speaking, Arab News; Khalid Al-Zayani OBE, chairman, Bahrain British Business Forum; and Saud Abu Al-Shawareb, managing director, Dubai Industrial City.

The agenda explores important topics including the GCC economies and investment overview, investing in the UK, stimulating economic growth and development, attracting foreign investment, environmental sustainability, future economic outlooks, and regional opportunity sector developments.

It will be held virtually via a dual-language English and Arabic event platform, Malga. Delegates will be able to choose which language they attend in to ensure a seamless, engaging and successful event of collaboration, business, and networking.

Tickets are now available via the Add Enterprise website.


French butter enhances iftar recipes this Ramadan

French butter enhances iftar recipes this Ramadan
Updated 08 May 2021

French butter enhances iftar recipes this Ramadan

French butter enhances iftar recipes this Ramadan

French butter is lauded as one of the true flavor enhancers of the world. It is now making its way into the most important meal of the day during Ramadan as chefs look to utilize the versatile ingredient through a range of iftar dishes.

One such chef is Ahmed Ali, head chef of Middle Eastern restaurant Ninive, who has developed an entire iftar menu using the finest French butter. The menu showcases how the 100 percent natural ingredient can be used in traditional and local recipes to make it more flavorful and colorful, transporting a classic dish into a taste sensation.

Discussing the benefits of using French butter in cooking, Chef Ali said: “For me, it is a mainstay whenever I’m cooking. Its versatility means I can use it any dish to elevate the taste, which was particularly relevant during this challenge to take the standard iftar menu and add a butter twist. 

“Because the manufacturing principles of French butter have remained the same for centuries, I know the ingredients’ quality remains at the very highest level therefore significantly adding to all attributes of the dish.

“With each dish on the menu, I used a range of techniques to incorporate the butter. For the soup, I whisked in the ingredient for a creamier finish while for the spiced carrot dukkah (an Egyptian spice blend), I blended it in for a richer consistency. I was also able to use butter to create a golden color on the chicken birwat.”

In addition, Chef Ali created a range of flavored butter with bread and roasted dates in butter to break the fast. Bread coated in butter and then placed in the oven accompanied a Fattoush salad. Baby gem lettuce and mujadara (a Middle Eastern lentils and rice dish) and sardines were given the butter treatment to add taste, color and consistency.

For the main course, Chef Ali panfried all meats with butter before being placed in the oven to create a succulent mixed grill. The vegetable tagine was sauteed in butter, creating a melt-in-the-mouth sensation rounded out by a fish sayadieh (a Lebanese fish and rice dish), onion rice, nuts and raisins, all enhanced by butter.

And what iftar would be complete without the staple dessert of Umm Ali? Chef Ali glazed the puff pastry in French butter to add to the taste and round off the menu.


Danube Home pledges to donate 10% of profits toward COVID-19 relief in India

Danube Home pledges to donate 10% of profits toward COVID-19 relief in India
Updated 08 May 2021

Danube Home pledges to donate 10% of profits toward COVID-19 relief in India

Danube Home pledges to donate 10% of profits toward COVID-19 relief in India

Danube Group, a Dubai-based multibillion dollar diversified business conglomerate, has announced its contribution toward COVID-19 relief efforts in India. Danube will donate 10 percent of its group company Danube Home’s Dubai profits from its sales for the month of May, which run into crores, to mitigate COVID-19 pains in India. The relief initiative will be handled by the Danube Home Foundation, through which customers too will be urged to contribute toward this noble cause.

Danube Home will primarily be donating to oxygen provider agencies as well as NGOs in Mumbai, the city from where the company’s chairman Rizwan Sajan hails. To begin with, Danube Home has already decided to donate to three institutions based in Mumbai, which include the Popular Front of Maharashtra, Rotary India and Kalsekar Hospital. Further, Danube Home is also looking to donate to other NGOs across the country engaged in COVID-19 relief operations.

Adel Sajan, group managing director — Danube Group, said: “Given the severity of the devastating pandemic situation in India, it’s our utmost responsibility to make efforts toward helping the needy and the sufferers across India. Since its inception, Danube Group has stood strong with the people of India to make a positive difference in society. If we look at the nationwide fight against COVID-19, it is very much required for all organizations to come forward in every possible way to ensure that our citizens have seamless access to the healthcare services, oxygen and other necessary requirements which can save precious lives.”

Danube Home — the home interior retail arm of Danube Group — has showrooms in several strategic locations across the UAE. The stores are located in Al-Barsha, Fujairah, Jimi Mall, Sharjah, Ras Al-Khaimah, Al-Ain and Abu Dhabi. Apart from the UAE, Danube Home has seven showrooms in Oman, one showroom in Bahrain, and one in India, and is now a global brand with stores across 20 countries through its franchise-based model. It also has an e-commerce website, which is making new strides in the GCC market.


LuLu hands over 16 Mini Coopers to ‘Super Fest’ winners

LuLu hands over 16 Mini Coopers to ‘Super Fest’ winners
Updated 05 May 2021

LuLu hands over 16 Mini Coopers to ‘Super Fest’ winners

LuLu hands over 16 Mini Coopers to ‘Super Fest’ winners

Regional retailer LuLu awarded 16 new Mini Cooper cars to winners as part of its anniversary promotion “Super Fest.” The handover ceremony was held consecutively in three of the Kingdom’s cities — Riyadh, Alkhobar and Jeddah.

Shehim Mohammed, director of LuLu Hypermarkets Saudi Arabia, said: “Super Fest is our biggest promotion yet. The success of this anniversary promotion reflects the utmost support of our loyal customer base. This is such a perfect opportunity for us to give back to them for continuously trusting us over the years, together with our brand partners. We are excited to launch more enjoyable events in the coming months.” 

The winners are: Saddam Ahmed Ahamed Alrawei, Khuram Parvez, Abdullah Bader Alessa, Khaled Saad A. Alshuhaib, Muhammed Ezhukandy, Rasheed Khan, Jwan Alsadoun, Hassan Barakat, Abdul Aziz Almalki, Modi Al-Tuwairb, Sanju Pettathanam Soman, Ahmad Aljehani, Muhammed Ankah, Muhammad Arfat Aziz Abdul Aziz, Mutlq Fahad M. Alafari and Aqnaz Monaco. 

 Over the years, LuLu’s Super Fest is a much-awaited promotion that has showcased exclusive product offers and exciting in-store activities. With 209 stores operating worldwide, LuLu has always been committed to offering the highest quality products from around the world, along with a dynamic shopping experience through monthly festivals and special events.

Serving more than 1,600,000 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 90s, it has successfully expanded to different parts of the world and currently operates with a staff of more than 57,000.


Saudi firm Basamh driving GCC’s $253bn retail market

Saudi firm Basamh driving GCC’s $253bn retail market
Updated 05 May 2021

Saudi firm Basamh driving GCC’s $253bn retail market

Saudi firm Basamh driving GCC’s $253bn retail market

Basamh Trading and Industries Group, one of Saudi Arabia’s most successful purpose-led fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) businesses in the Middle East and Africa, has announced that its digital transformation is driving the GCC’s multibillion-dollar retail market.

Thanks to robust population growth, the rise in e-commerce, and multinational brands entering the region, the GCC’s retail market has topped $253 billion, according to Alpen Capital. 

Basamh, with top brands such as Goody, Cofique and Treva, and as a distributor of a range of quality brands such as Perfetto, Betty Crocker, Nature Valley, Bugles, Best Mix, Glade, Raid, Pledge and Windex, is supporting FMCG innovation with its five-year digital transformation strategy LEAP, with global technology company SAP. Central to the strategy is the Leap to Digital (L2D) program that is enabling sustainable profitability. 

With a world-class enterprise resources planning system, Basamh has standardized, streamlined, and integrated business processes across finance, procurement, sales and distribution. 

Basamh’s solutions cover nearly 1,200 employees in 12 branches in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. 

“In the highly competitive fast-moving consumer goods field, Basamh needed to improve our on-time delivery, increase our salesforce efficiency, and automate reporting and employee self-services to enhance business competitiveness,” said Khalid Temairik, group CEO, Basamh Trading and Industries Group. 

In response, Basamh implemented the SAP S/HANA real-time business suite and SAP SuccessFactors human experience management suite with channel partner LABS. Basamh also implemented the SAP Extended Warehouse Management solution with channel partner Westernacher, and various enterprise solutions with the channel partner Vistex. 

“Thanks to our digital transformation with SAP, Basamh has improved management decisions and business planning,” said Maher Barrayah, group CFO, IT and procurement. “We’ve also standardized business processes, enhanced customer and supplier experiences, and can scale up for future business growth.” 

Recognizing its success, Basamh has won an SAP MENA Quality Award — Gold in the category Business Transformation — Middle East North. Judges praised Basamh for successfully managing the complex project by taking three key actions: Changing management and constant communication with employees, training employees on digital skills, and organizational change in restructuring companies. 

“This is just the start of our journey to digitally transform Basamh, and we are commitment to continually delivering with quality to enable further digital innovations for the group,” said Osama Islam, group IT director.

“Basamh’s award-winning digital transformation shows how intelligent enterprises can leverage a strong digital foundation to drive business growth and innovation,” said Ahmed Al-Faifi, senior vice president and managing director, SAP Middle East North.

“As a Saudi digital leader, Basamh is implementing high-impact digital opportunities that are enhancing customer experiences, enabling seamless operations, and empowering high-performance digital teams.”