Muscat: Vowing to tap the largely unexploited retail outlet market in the Sultanate, SPAR International — a Dutch multinational retail chain — plans to open 24 outlets in Oman by 2017, a top-level company executive told Times of Oman.
“This year, we plan to open 14 stores. By the end of 2017 we will have 24 outlets across Oman,” Tobias Wasmuht, managing director, SPAR International, told TOO in an exclusive interview.
He said: “I think there is considerable opportunity for multi-format retailing in Oman — which today is very much historically driven by hypermarkets. The future will show that there is not only opportunity but demand for greater variety of formats.”
The company has united with Khimji Ramdas — the licenced SPAR Partner for Oman — operational since 1870 and one of the leading business conglomerates in the Sultanate.
“Our operations are local and all of the profit in the business is reinvested back into this country. We are not an international conglomerate that is taking value out. We are bringing value into Oman,” he said.
Wasmuht said his company looks forward to exploit what he said is the “fragmented” market in entire GCC.
“If you look at the current market in GCC, the most concentrated market is UAE where the top three retail players have 27 per cent share of the market. In Saudi Arabia the top three players have only 12 per cent of share. In GCC, the market is pretty fragmented and our role is using our multi format retail strategy, large extensive store network in coming years to get a major share of that market,” the SPAR official said.
Unlike other major players like Lulu and Carrefour, SPAR official said that their strength lies in offering multi-format (small, medium and big) retail outlets to diversified population at various locations.
“Which means we get penetration. Our strength is our multi-format stores,” he said, adding “They [Lulu and Carrefour] are predominantly large format stores. If we look at Oman within the GCC in terms of food retail, about seven per cent of food retail comes from Oman. Oman for SPAR will be of greater significance and importance. Oman punches above its weight and we believe we have a strong partner,” he said.
Wasmuht became the Managing Director of SPAR International, assuming responsibility for the worldwide development and co-ordination of the SPAR organisation. He says he is focused on the development of SPAR as a global retail brand through international brand communication combined with retail and supply chain development.
“In terms of how we differ from other players, we’ve diversified formats in hyper, super, convenient stores, neighborhood stores and all that. We offer retail formats from 100 square metres to 12000 square metres in over 42 countries which means Khimji Ramdas can immediately access things, tried and tested across these countries and bring them into this market. So that’s the key. Our core value is also freshness,” he added.
The company official said their Ominisation engagement is over 50 per cent.
“Our long term we want to see ourselves at the top of the market. We have potential to lead the market. We are extremely bullish and excited at what we have achieved so far,” he said.