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Carrefour to open two stores in Egypt by 2002

French retailer Carrefour and its local partner will open two stores in in 2002, undeterred by British supermarket chain Sainsbury's decision to pull out of the country, the partner said.

An official at Majid al-Futtaim (MAF) Egypt, a subsidary of the Dubai-based MAF group of companies, told Reuters that MAF had begun building two shopping malls in March, one in Cairo and the other in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, where the hypermarkets will be located.

“We've started constructing the two malls which will contain the hypermarkets that we will lease to the joint venture company,” MAF-Egypt General Manager for Development Mohamed Galal said.

Carrefour in Paris confirmed that its partner al-Futtaim “is looking for sites in Egypt”, but would not be more specific.

Galal said MAF had made investments of close to LE800 million ($206 million) since it entered the Egyptian market in 1998. The company has purchased land for a total of four malls it plans to build. All four are due to contain Carrefour hypermarkets, he said.

Asked about Sainsbury's decision to pull the plug on its Egypt operation, Galal said: “We feel Egypt has good potential, otherwise we would not invest these large amounts of money in Egypt.”

Sainsbury announced early this week that it was selling its 80.1% stake in its Egyptian operations to its minority partner, al-Nasharty group.

Target customers

“In the current economic situation, there is a need for discount stores, and the hypermarket concept is a discount store where all items are available for the target (customers) who are middle class,” Galal said.

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Sainsbury tried, with its network of over 100 stores, to tap into a wider-based market, usually served by local stores. Some analysts considered this a departure from the traditional foreign supermarket target of serving mostly upmarket customers.

At a time of strained Israeli- relations, Sainsbury was dogged by rumours that it had Israeli links. Sainsbury Chief Executive Peter Davis called the speculation unfounded.

Galal said each hypermarket would cost MAF Egypt some LE50 million to build. ($1=3.88 Egyptian pounds).

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This article was first published by Reuters on 11 April 2001.

Author

  • Khaled Diab

    Khaled Diab is an award-winning journalist, blogger and writer who has been based in Tunis, Jerusalem, Brussels, Geneva and Cairo. Khaled also gives talks and is regularly interviewed by the print and audiovisual . Khaled Diab is the author of two books: Islam for the Politically Incorrect (2017) and Intimate Enemies: Living with Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land (2014). In 2014, the Anna Lindh Foundation awarded Khaled its Mediterranean Journalist Award in the press category. This website, The Chronikler, won the 2012 Best of the Blogs (BOBs) for the best English-language blog. Khaled was longlisted for the Orwell journalism prize in 2020. In addition, Khaled works as communications director for an environmental NGO based in Brussels. He has also worked as a communications consultant to intergovernmental organisations, such as the and the UN, as well as civil . Khaled lives with his beautiful and brilliant wife, Katleen, who works in humanitarian aid. The foursome is completed by Iskander, their smart, creative and artistic son, and Sky, their mischievous and footballing cat. Egyptian by birth, Khaled's life has been divided between the and . He grew up in Egypt and the , and has lived in , on and off, since 2001. He holds dual Egyptian-Belgian nationality.

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Khaled Diab

Khaled Diab is an award-winning journalist, blogger and writer who has been based in Tunis, Jerusalem, Brussels, Geneva and Cairo. Khaled also gives talks and is regularly interviewed by the print and audiovisual media. Khaled Diab is the author of two books: Islam for the Politically Incorrect (2017) and Intimate Enemies: Living with Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land (2014). In 2014, the Anna Lindh Foundation awarded Khaled its Mediterranean Journalist Award in the press category. This website, The Chronikler, won the 2012 Best of the Blogs (BOBs) for the best English-language blog. Khaled was longlisted for the Orwell journalism prize in 2020. In addition, Khaled works as communications director for an environmental NGO based in Brussels. He has also worked as a communications consultant to intergovernmental organisations, such as the EU and the UN, as well as civil society. Khaled lives with his beautiful and brilliant wife, Katleen, who works in humanitarian aid. The foursome is completed by Iskander, their smart, creative and artistic son, and Sky, their mischievous and footballing cat. Egyptian by birth, Khaled’s life has been divided between the Middle East and Europe. He grew up in Egypt and the UK, and has lived in Belgium, on and off, since 2001. He holds dual Egyptian-Belgian nationality.

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