DUBAI 2 July 2017: The United Arab Emirates’ one and only Emirati supermarket chain has chalked out ambitious plans to go big on the highly competitive – but profitable – market with its brand – Roseberry.
Part of the Abu Dhabi headquartered highly diversified Emirates Business Group, Roseberry belongs to the retail division, EIG Retail. EIG stands for Emirates International Group.
“In the past nine months we opened three supermarkets – one in Khalidya, Abu Dhabi, another in Uptown Mirdiff and the third in ‘The Mall’ @ The Walk in Jumeirah,” Anil Verma, EIG Retail CEO, told Emirates News. “In those nine months, some 200,000 customers have visited us.”
Roseberry is positioned as an upmarket brand and 25 stores are in the planning stage, Verma revealed adding that two more Roseberry supermarkets will be opened this year – one more in Abu Dhabi and another in Dubai’s Al Barsha area.
“We do not rule out acquisitions,” he said. “If we take over any supermarket, we will convert it to the Roseberry brand.”
Funding is not a problem. Our leadership is strong and stresses on being the best in whatever we do. There is tremendous support. EBG is a stable and established group – in fact we have our own buildings in which we have a lot of retail space, said Verma.
EBG is into shipping, IT, agriculture, food, manufacturing, real estate and counts up to 25 companies under its umbrella. It is the biggest in the UAE in fodder, second largest in fencing and now has entered packaging.
Verma explained that the group was already into agriculture and food, owning farms in Sharjah’s Mleiha area that produce fruits, vegetables, meat and poultry under the ‘Al Bustan’ and ‘Biladi’ brands. “We have very high quality control.
“The idea was to create a 100 per cent Emirati chain stocked with the best in foodstuffs. Though the focus is to have supermarkets all across the UAE, we have registered the brand across the GCC.
“We have really spent on convenience and freshness. We get fresh produce directly from our farms. For us ‘freshness is a promise’,” said Verma.
The Roseberry Vide0
And what EBG cannot provide in-house, it sources from the best, says the EIG Retail CEO.
Roseberry has signed up with an US firm – The Great Harvest – for in-house bakeries. They have some 250 stores in the US and focus on quality products for health-conscious people.
Roseberry is also bringing the Japanese ‘Sushi Day’ concept.
“We import products from some 200 suppliers,” said Verma. “Later we will have our own distribution.”
Roseberry is already working on branded foodstuffs such as rice from the world-acclaimed Indian Basmati belt.
The chain cannot stay out of delivery aspect and so has tied up with InstaShop – the e-delivery platform.
So how large [or small] are supermarkets?
The optimal size is between 8,000-10,000 square feet with stocks of up to Dh1.2 million at any given time.
And the margin is about 20 per cent – some 4-5 per cent from suppliers and 15-17 per cent on sales.
And what are the challenges in this business?
“It is a challenging business. The catchment area is shrinking to 2-3 km radius. The winner will be who has the best location. Other factors are customer strategy, convenience and hygiene. We see 10 locations and choose one. If one is not careful, rentals can kill the business. It is a crowded market with established players. New entrants have to struggle,” said industry veteran Verma.
He pointed out that as part of shopping convenience, Roseberry spent extra at the Uptown Mirdiff store on seamless flooring resulting in smooth trolley flow and easy cleaning without grouting blemishes.
“And as long as the country and Dubai are growing and new population centres keep coming up, there will always be room for players like us. There are many areas that are still untouched,” Verma pointed out.
He said apart from Roseberry, EIG Retail has acquired ‘Mezbaan’ chain of five restaurants, which are being revamped. “We also have the ‘Copper Chimney’ franchise and we will open the 6,500 sqft restaurant at The Millenium Hotel this month. It will be a unique dining experience and ambience. We have the most authentic taste and have spent $1.5 million on interior decor imports from 7 countries.”
Lastly, what is the unique factor for Roseberry?
“Apart from no compromise on quality, hygiene, convenience and freshness, Roseberry is the only supermarket chain that does not sell tobacco products. This is a CSR directive straight from the chairman – even though we lose 6-8 per cent of our business turnover. I suggested that to retain customers, we donate all proceeds from tobacco sales to charity, but our chairman refused.
“‘Smoking kills. We cannot play with the health of people. We can’t make people sick and then give to charity to make them better,’ said our chairman,” Verma pointed out.
By Eudore R. Chand