LuLu launches e-receipts for greener shopping experience

LuLu launches e-receipts for greener shopping experience
The digital receipts system will promote contactless payment.
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Updated 06 June 2022

LuLu launches e-receipts for greener shopping experience

LuLu launches e-receipts for greener shopping experience

In a move to reduce paper consumption and for a “greener” shopping experience, LuLu Hypermarkets introduced e-receipts as transaction proof for its customers across stores in the Kingdom. The e-receipt system replaces paper receipts, where shoppers can instantly get their shopping receipts as SMS, which is more convenient and secure, apart from being easy-to-store for future reference.

The digital receipts system will be implemented across all LuLu Hypermarkets in Saudi Arabia and will greatly reduce usage of paper and promote contactless payment. It will also help customers to process exchange of goods and track their benefits and rewards.

“We are pleased to launch our advanced e-receipt payment system across Saudi Arabia. As the leading retail group in the Kingdom, this step is a measure to improve the shopping experience of our customers and embed a sustainable and ‘green’ method that will help the planet,” said Hessah Abdulrahman, head of sustainability and green initiative, LuLu Hypermarkets Saudi Arabia. “It is part of the LuLu promise to continuously upgrade the retail experience for our shoppers and also use our retail presence to support sustainability and the environment.”

Besides being well-known for its wide range of products, LuLu has always been a key promoter of social initiatives and environmental sustainability across the globe. Over the years, the retailer has initiated many projects toward these advocacies and aims to continue to do the same in the future.


LuLu festival celebrates Indian Independence Day

Festival was inaugurated by N. Ram Prasad, charge d’ affaires in Indian Embassy Riyadh, at LuLu Hypermarket Avenue Mall, Murabba
Festival was inaugurated by N. Ram Prasad, charge d’ affaires in Indian Embassy Riyadh, at LuLu Hypermarket Avenue Mall, Murabba
Updated 18 August 2022

LuLu festival celebrates Indian Independence Day

Festival was inaugurated by N. Ram Prasad, charge d’ affaires in Indian Embassy Riyadh, at LuLu Hypermarket Avenue Mall, Murabba
  • As a visionary businessman, Yusuf Ali has played a big role in expanding commercial relations between both countries and the region. — N. Ram Prasad, Charge d’ Affaires at the Indian Embassy in Riyadh

LuLu Hypermarket is hosting its colorful “India Utsav” festival to celebrate the 76th Indian Independence Day — Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. The festival was inaugurated by N. Ram Prasad, charge d’ affaires at the Indian Embassy in Riyadh, at LuLu Hypermarket Avenue Mall, Murabba. He was received by Shehim Mohammed, director of LuLu Hypermarkets Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, the festival was inaugurated in Jeddah by Indian Consul General Mohammed Shahid Alam.

India Utsav is a retail festival that brings alive the “3 Cs” of the Indian experience at LuLu: Culture, Commerce and Cuisine. It showcases the close commercial ties that the group enjoys with India. This year, the event presents a unique immersive shopping experience with regional food trails, celebrity visits, exclusive promotions and fashion wear in time for the festive season to follow.

The festival sees the launch of five new Indian brands in the Kingdom — Vadilal, Lazza, Agro Special, Everest, Govind and The Green Snack Co. — and special promotions on more than 7,500 Indian products across various categories including FMCG, health and beauty, fruit and vegetables, household and fashion.

Of special interest to shoppers will be the “Flavors of India” segment — a celebration of the regional cuisines of India, which will take centerstage at all LuLu Hypermarkets in the Kingdom.

To mark the occasion, LuLu baked and displayed a 75-meter cake representing the colors of the Indian tricolor. Saudi artist Khalid also delighted shoppers by creating art using spice powders and rice.

“The LuLu Group’s promotion of Indo-Saudi commerce and cultural links has brought pride and honor to India as well as to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and underscores the warm and friendly ties between both countries,” said Prasad.

“As a visionary businessman, Yusuf Ali has played a big role in expanding commercial relations between both countries and the region. He has put Indian exports through his chain on the 5,000 rupees ($629.5 million) crores trajectory. These include Indian fruit, vegetables, grain and non-food items for LuLu’s 235 hypermarkets around the world. In Saudi Arabia, the group has initiated several far-sighted expansion projects and created employment opportunities for all. All this positions it to play a leading role in the Kingdom’s bright future.”

LuLu, which has a strong Indian network of food processing and logistics centers for exporting bulk products to the Middle Eastern countries, has flown in many exclusive Indian products for the shopping festival. LuLu’s chefs have created a huge range of authentic Indian specialties, desserts and street food delicacies in the hot food section. To complete the Indian cultural experience, trendy high-street fashion as well as a curated collection of designer wear for festivals and weddings has been made available.

Speaking at the inauguration, Mohammed said: “We at LuLu, have pioneered the immersive and experiential shopping event, which adds value and an extra dimension to our shoppers’ retail outings. With a network of food sourcing and logistics centers across India, food processing units and LuLu’s own-label food products as well as a cohort of skilled fashion buyers who help our garments and clothing department to stay ahead of the trend,

we are well-prepared to treat our shoppers with truly festive ‘Utsav’ shopping.”

“India Utsav” will run until Aug. 20 across LuLu Hypermarkets in the Kingdom as well as on its website and app.


Alaan launches UAE’s first business cashback card

Alaan launches UAE’s first business cashback card
Updated 17 August 2022

Alaan launches UAE’s first business cashback card

Alaan launches UAE’s first business cashback card

Alaan, a UAE-based corporate spend-management fintech, has announced the launch of an industry-first business cashback card. The startup previously had raised $2.5 million in seed funding and built a platform enabling businesses to spend through modern corporate cards and automated invoice payments. Business customers using Alaan cards will be rewarded with up to 2 percent of their spending in cashback.

Commenting on the launch, Parthi Duraisamy, chief executive and co-founder of Alaan, said: “It’s great to have launched an industry-first business cashback card. Consumers have long had access to such cards in the UAE, but that has not been the case for SMEs and corporates. When businesses across the world are trying to conserve cash and cut spending during a recession, we are happy to be supporting UAE businesses to save and take control of their business spending.”

Founded in 2021 by ex-McKinsey employees, Duraisamy and Karun Kurien, Alaan aims to transform the processing of business expenses through its platform that provides employees with business cards to make company purchases and automatically reconciles spending in real-time.

Additionally, Alaan instantly issues virtual cards for e-commerce transactions, SaaS subscriptions, vendor payments or in-store purchases. These cards can be set up with daily or monthly spend limits and can be merchant-locked to be used only with certain merchants such as fuel stations. The platform eliminates expense reports, need for petty cash, and automates bookkeeping tasks via seamless integration with various accounting solution providers.

Philip Johnston, co-chief executive of Opontia, and an early customer of Alaan, said: “Until now, we have had to rely on debit cards, which have high FX rates and no cashback options. We look forward to scaling with Alaan cards, both to save money and to save precious time for our finance teams, so they can focus on our business instead of month-end manual expense management.”

Alaan is headquartered in Dubai and is expanding its headcount and scale in multiple markets across the Middle East.


APICORP and nogaholding sign MoU to promote collaboration

APICORP and nogaholding sign MoU to promote collaboration
Updated 17 August 2022

APICORP and nogaholding sign MoU to promote collaboration

APICORP and nogaholding sign MoU to promote collaboration

The Oil and Gas Holding Company B.S.C (c), known as nogaholding, and the Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation signed a memorandum of understanding to promote collaboration between the two entities.

Under the MoU, nogaholding will leverage APICORP’s experience as a partner to the Arab energy sector to support the company’s strategic initiatives and projects that will be crucial to the future of Bahrain’s energy sector. This includes sharing knowledge and best practices on environmental, social and governance aspects, sustainability initiatives, and green financing.

The MoU was signed by APICORP Chief Executive Officer Khalid Ali Al-Ruwaigh and nogaholding Group Chief Executive Officer Mark Thomas. The signing ceremony was attended by Dr. Mohammed bin Mubarak bin Daina, minister of oil and environment and special envoy for climate affairs, and Dr. Aabed Al-Saadoun, chairman of the board — APICORP, alongside a number of other officials from both parties.

Dr. bin Daina said: “We are delighted to witness this partnership between two entities focusing on the development of the Arab energy sector and exchanging knowledge for the benefit of communities. The Kingdom has taken massive strides in the development of the oil and gas sector while responsibly working on meeting the decarbonization mandates as pledged by Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, the crown prince and prime minister of Bahrain at COP26, as well as the UN sustainable development goals. With APICORP’s experience, we can expect this partnership to accelerate the energy transition and adoption of ESG principles in Bahrain.”

Al-Saadoun said: “Our mission is to contribute to the development and transformation of the Arab hydrocarbon and energy industries through equity, debt financing and advisory services and provide the Arab energy sector with financial solutions for the energy of tomorrow. The MoU with nogaholding is a testament to our focus on our goals in supporting the Arab energy sector in a balanced energy transition that enables socioeconomic growth and workforce empowerment.”

Meanwhile, Al-Ruwaigh said: “Being the region’s only multilateral financial institution with established experience in financial services and solutions for sustainable energy, APICORP is delighted to partner with nogaholding and support its commendable strategic initiatives that aim to improve the Bahraini energy sector. We will work closely with nogaholding to strengthen corporate sustainability and ESG practices, provide financial advisory on sustainable energy projects and support on effective structuring and arranging of financing. This partnership will help APICORP to cement its legacy of providing financial services for impact.”

Thomas added: “We are proud to be signing this MoU with an esteemed company like APICORP. The knowledge-sharing aspect of this partnership will provide nogaholding with opportunities that will help bolster the future of Bahrain’s energy sector, enabling us to take on additional projects, in line with Bahrain’s Vision 2030. We look forward to revitalizing our oil and gas sector while moving toward a more sustainable method of energizing the Kingdom and exploring avenues that lead to more efficient and alternative energy sources.”


KPMG joins Digital Cooperation Organization as official observer

KPMG joins Digital Cooperation Organization as official observer
Updated 16 August 2022

KPMG joins Digital Cooperation Organization as official observer

KPMG joins Digital Cooperation Organization as official observer

The Digital Cooperation Organization, an intergovernmental organization established to enable digital prosperity for all, has announced KPMG as the first professional services organization to join as an official observer.

The DCO, whose programs work to accelerate the inclusive growth of the digital economy, has swelled its ranks to represent nearly 600 million people and $2 trillion of GDP. Its programs are dedicated to supporting women, youth and entrepreneurs to harness the power of the digital economy across its 10 member states.

KPMG is a global network of professional services companies with more than 200,000 employees worldwide, helping clients thrive in a digital world and accelerate their digital transformation. KPMG has 26 global strategic alliances with world-leading technology companies, including Google Cloud, IBM, Alibaba Cloud, and Infosys, cementing its position as a leader in digital transformation on the international stage. Bringing this extensive expertise into the wider DCO ecosystem, KPMG will work alongside DCO experts on multinational projects designed to enhance the global digital economy in areas such as digital taxation, cross-border data flows, digital transformation and e-governance.

Dr. Samer Abdallah, global lead partner at KPMG, said: “KPMG is aligned with the DCO’s mission to promote social prosperity through more inclusive participation to grow the digital economy. We have played an active role in building key strategies, policies, and enablers to foster innovation and the digital economy. The digital era we live in brings us opportunities as well as challenges. Digital and innovation are part of our DNA at KPMG, and as part of the DCO ecosystem, we are proud to work together to promote digital prosperity.”

Welcoming the announcement of the partnership, Hassan Nasser, DCO vice president of international affairs, said: “The partnership between DCO and KPMG is the latest leap forward for the DCO as we continue to forge partnerships wherever and however they can play an active role in harnessing the power of the digital economy. KPMG is the first professional services observer of the DCO, with international expertise and a vital knowledge partner as we continue our mission to enable digital prosperity for all.”

The DCO is quickly expanding its ecosystem of international collaborators to include leading private sector companies, academic institutions, think tanks, civil society organizations, international organizations, and other partners across North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

The global multilateral organization, founded in November 2020, brings together the Ministries of Digital Economy and ICT of 10 nations — Bahrain, Djibouti, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Rwanda and Saudi Arabia.


‘House of the Dragon’ drone show to light up Riyadh Boulevard

‘House of the Dragon’ drone show to light up Riyadh Boulevard
Updated 16 August 2022

‘House of the Dragon’ drone show to light up Riyadh Boulevard

‘House of the Dragon’ drone show to light up Riyadh Boulevard

OSN+, a regional streaming service for premium entertainment, is celebrating the premiere of House of the Dragon, the Game of Thrones prequel, with an immersive drone show and screen takeover that will light up the Riyadh skyline during the Gamers8 festival on Aug. 18.

OSN+ will celebrate the premiere of the highly anticipated series with a breathtaking 1,000-drone light show above Riyadh Boulevard, preceded by a complete screen takeover and firework display during the Gamers8 festival, the largest eSports and gaming event worldwide, currently taking place in Riyadh.

“OSN+ is excited to launch a spectacular drone show as part of the Gamers8 festival ahead of the highly anticipated release of House of the Dragon on Aug. 22 in the Middle East. Alongside an expansive screen takeover and firework display, the gaming festival will provide an engaging and immersive platform to celebrate the premiere of the first episode of the Game of Thrones prequel with fans, both within the Saudi Arabian capital and across the Kingdom,” said Ashley Rite, vice president, marketing and growth at OSN+.

The 10-episode HBO Original drama series, available exclusively on OSN, is based on George R.R. Martin’s Fire and Blood, which is set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, and tells the story of House Targaryen. The prequel to one of the most successful series of the past decade is set to air exclusively on OSN+ on Aug. 22, simultaneously with the US premiere, with new episodes dropping weekly on the platform.

The lineup in the upcoming series includes Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen, Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen, the king’s younger brother and heir to the throne, Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower, daughter of the Hand of the King, Emma D’Arcy as King Viserys’ firstborn child Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon “The Sea Snake,” Eve Best as his wife Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole, Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria, and Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King and father to Alicent.

OSN+ is an accessible online platform and is available for download across all iOS and Android devices for $9.5 per month.