A group of grocery operators in Doha have urged the authorities to restrict licences for new supermarkets in their areas.
But customers are happy because they have more shops to choose from. Besides, they feel that stiff competition can prompt the stores to come up with better deals to woo patrons.
Even distribution of groceries within and outside the city is needed, argue others, pointing to the lack of such stores in some areas and "oversupply" in others.
Speaking to Gulf Times, representatives of some groceries complained that new licences "are being issued indiscriminately in many places" and this is leading to "mushrooming" of groceries in such areas.
This, in turn, affects their business, they argue, as the demand remains unchanged with more players in the market.
One of the grocers said more than a dozen new stores have opened in Najma and Mansoura over the past two years. These are in addition to existing groceries operating in these areas for several years.
He complained that the opening of new groceries has affected the business of some of the older stores, stressing that it is time to place some restrictions on the issue of new licences in the area.
Further, he argued that the new groceries may not be viable if there was no adequate demand in those areas.
Claiming that business has been hit at some of the old groceries, a supermarket operator said, "new licences are being granted at a time when a number of long-time customers, mainly families, have left the country. While this needs to be checked, store operators also need relief in terms of rents."
Some residents, however, said the grocery operators should not complain and instead focus on improving their services to retain customers.
"People like me do not mind having a new grocery in the neighbourhood. After all, competition is good for everyone. The old-timers should be more proactive if they want to retain their patrons," said a resident.
He, however, acknowledged that a glut may not always be good for business and proper studies should be carried out before opening a new store.
Meanwhile, sources said while new licences are being issued in some city areas that already have many groceries, places such as Al Thumama, New Salata and parts of Al Hilal have high demand but the supply is inadequate.
"People should open new groceries in such areas as there is good scope. This way, both owners and residents will benefit," said a source.