Al Meera in 2012: An aggressive expansion within Qatar

Al Qahtani:  “Our expansion plan benefits everyone in the country”

Al Meera Consumer Goods (QSC) and its subsidiaries, set its expansion strategy in force in 2012.  Even though a component of the strategy involves spreading the brand to other countries, Al Meera has primarily set its sights on Qatar, where the year saw more outlets and more products offered to the public.

“Our expansion plan benefits everyone in the country: shareholders and customers alike,” said Al Meera’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Mohammed Al Qahtani.  “Qatar has always been and will always be our primary market.  Even though in the past year we have inked deals to expand our brand in international markets, it has not been done at the expense of our obligations and role in the country.  We are first and foremost a proud Qatari corporation, and our success is tied to the success of this country.  Our aggressive expansion in Qatar in 2012 is testament to that commitment.”

Since the beginning of the year, Al Meera has expanded its retail space by over ten thousand square meters.  The Abu Nakhla shopping Mall  (5000 sqm) and airport road hypermarket (also 5000 sqm) are already up and running. 

In addition, old Al Meera outlets also continued to be converted to the new and innovative concept: a modern design tailor-made for the Qatari market by international design firms. Al Meera started its conversion from last year August, with Khalifa South and Mansoura stores; this year they have already converted Hazem Al Markhiya branch, and the Maamoura and Azghawa branches will be refurbished before the end of the year 

Giant Stores, which Al Meera Holding acquired last year along with the Al Oumara Baking Company, will see four of its stores rebranded into Al Meera supermarkets by the end of December. 

Additionally, new convenience stores will be opened at the Sealine resort south of Doha, the Beverly Hills Tower, and the Beverly Hills 3 compound during the last quarter of this year.

WH Smith, a premium UK-based bookstore brand to which Al Meera has the rights in Qatar, will be inaugurated in the Ezdan Mall and Nuaja shopping mall before 2012 end.

 “Our goal was that by the end of this year, virtually everyone in Qatar will be within a short distance from an Al Meera outlet,” explained Al Qahtani. 

 “To facilitate our future expansion plans in the country, we are going for shopping mall concept which might be differentiated into two types: community and neighbourhood ones.  Essentially, the community model can be described as a large-scale supermarket that, in addition to traditional groceries, will include additional services such as banks, food court, Laundromats, and so forth.  The neighbourhood model is a convenience store, catering to the immediate vicinity with groceries and basic services, such as dry cleaners and pharmacies.  Using this model, 2013 will see more Al Meera outlets opening throughout the country.”

Accordingly, over 60,000 sqm of Al Meera’s community and neighbourhood shopping mall are already under development, most of which are expected to open sometime during the next 3 years.

 The Laqtafia outlet, a 4,000 sqm neighborhood shopping mall, is to break ground in the coming weeks.  Regulators have given the go-ahead to begin development of the Al Dakira, shopping malls.  Furthermore, the proposed Al Wajba, Jeryan Njema, Muraikh, and Azizia, Rawdad Akdeem, Muaither, Rawdad Al Hamama, and Al Wakra branches are already in the design phase, and submission to the regulators , with construction expected to commence within the coming months.

 Pertaining further expansion, Al Meera has already secured 15 plots of land in Qatar, to further facilitate the company’s expansion plan well from 2015 and onward.

 “Our expansion plans involve more than just increasing our retail space,” said Al Qahtani.  “Our strategy also calls for expanding product offerings to our customers.  A number of deals signed this year with international and regional firms will see more products on our shelves to the delight of our customers.  Essentially, Al Meera is turning into a ‘one-stop’ shop that can secure everyone’s needs in one location.”

 In 2011, Al Meera and Casino Group signed a deal which would not only secure additional products for Al Meera, but would also help the company develop its own range of food and grocery items – products that have already hit the shelf.

 “Al Meera efforts have really paid off – for everyone,” concluded Al Qahtani.  “Our stores can now easily be accessed by virtually everyone in Qatar.  And just as important is our bottom line: our second quarter results, which showed an increase of revenue by over 60%, and an increase in profits over 30%, is an encouraging recognition of our efforts.  It is the Qatari market that allowed for these impressive numbers – since 2011, our operations income has increased at least two-fold.  These results are not only a testament to our commitment to Qatar and its people, but also our commitment to our own vision, to become the country’s ‘favorite neighbourhood retailer.”