Tashkent, Uzbekistan, October 28, 2019: Majid Al Futtaim, the leading shopping mall, communities, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, Africa and Asia announced today that it will open its first Carrefour stores in Uzbekistan, marking the first entry of an international grocery retailer into the Central Asian country.
Seven stores are set to open over the next two years as part of the initial expansion phase, with three supermarkets and one hypermarket coming online in 2020 and an additional two supermarkets followed by one hypermarket in 2021. These stores will collectively contribute to 17,400 Sqm of total retail area across Tashkent.
Hani Weiss, Chief Executive Officer of Majid Al Futtaim - Retail said: “A supportive government, growing economy, and high demand for a customer centric offering like ours makes Uzbekistan a compelling fit for our expansion into Central Asia. As the first international grocery retailer to enter the market, we look forward to working with AKFA Group and combining their knowledge of the local landscape with our expertise in the modern retail sector. This partnership enables us to create meaningful employment opportunities and fulfil our brand promise of creating great moments for everyone everyday.”
The announcement came as Majid Al Futtaim signed an agreement with AKFA Group, the largest private company in Uzbekistan with a diverse portfolio that includes construction, hospitality, telecommunications, financial services, healthcare and food production. The AKFA Group also owns retail and real estate assets which will host all seven Carrefour stores.
Abduvakhitov A. Alisher, CEO of Retail Division (Atlas) of Akfa Group of Companies’ commented: “As our President’s main objective is to open Uzbekistan to the whole world and attract new investments, we have been in discussions with Majid Al Futtaim since February 2017 to open hypermarkets and supermarkets under the Carrefour brand in Tashkent. We look forward to a successful partnership and believe that a new era will start in the retail market due to Carrefour’s presence in Uzbekistan. It will have a positive impact on the retail industry’s development by implementing international standards and improving the quality of products offered while creating employment opportunities.”
The entry of Majid Al Futtaim into the market will further stimulate the country’s economy, as it seeks to work with more than 600 local suppliers, manufacturers, producers and farmers across Uzbekistan. Furthermore, Carrefour’s operations will create almost 2,500 jobs directly and indirectly within the first two years. Carrefour will also introduce unbeatable value across a range of up to 40,000 products, offer exceptional customer experience, and best practices for hygiene processes.
Majid Al Futtaim holds the exclusive franchise rights to operate Carrefour in 37 countries and currently operates over 285 Carrefour stores in 15 markets. Recently, the company announced it will open its first stores in Uganda before the end of the year. Coupled with the opening of its Uzbekistan stores, Majid Al Futtaim will soon be operating in 17 countries.
Uzbekistan is one of the fastest growing economies in the CIS region, underpinned by a series of reforms implemented by the government including unifying the exchange rate, trade liberalisation, tax cuts and a population where 72% of inhabitants are under the age of 40. Despite this, Uzbekistan lacks the presence of an international grocery retailer, and with the food market expected to reach USD 5 billion in Tashkent alone by 2023, it marks a significant untapped opportunity for Majid Al Futtaim as it aims to further boost the country’s economy and drive modern retailing standards in the country.