With its robust investment climate, Qatar is seen as a key destination for major international businesses seeking to expand their footprint abroad, an official of hypermarket giant LuLu has said.
According to Dr Mohamed Althaf, director of LuLu Hypermarket, the company is expanding its infrastructure and “deepening its relationship” with Qatar, which he described as “a very good market for us now.”
Althaf said LuLu is adding more hypermarkets to its roster of stores in Qatar, with at least four expected to open in 2021. He said LuLu is also building food security warehouses, as well as a “deep storage” facility in Al Wukair for its logistics and storage needs.
“At the same time, our online and cyber presence is also expanding. We are now in the process of setting up the first ‘fulfilment centre’ exclusively for e-commerce, so that at least all the items will be delivered without any disruption,” said Althaf.
Althaf also said LuLu has been working with at least 40 companies in Qatar to localise its private label production. This, he said, would allow for the manufacture of affordable products that would benefit consumers in the country.
LuLu’s partnership with the Italian Embassy in Doha and the Italian Trade Agency (ITA) has been instrumental in bringing in high-quality, yet, affordable Italian products into the country, said Althaf, who added that its export hub in Milan, Italy is on track and is expected to operate by the first quarter of 2021.
“Due to the aggressive lockdowns in Europe, we have pushed our opening of the facility in Milan to next year. Hopefully by April or May, before the next Ramadan, we should be in operation,” Althaf said.
Althaf said the partnership with both the embassy and ITA also gives LuLu the opportunity to work directly with Italian farmers co-operative, Coldiretti, which is the leading Italian organisation of cultivators representing half-million Italian farmers.
“We have a very special predilection with the Italian Trade Agency…Italy has got some of the most well-managed and most organised farm co-operatives, so we work directly with them.
“Because of the partnership, these companies become first time exporters out of Italy because majority of them are small farms, so what we do is procure their products and localise them. We meet all the local legislations and regulatory requirements needed and make them export ready,” Althaf said.
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