UAE retailers keep a close eye on Qatar developments
The UAE’s large retail groups with interests in Qatar are assessing the potential impact from the break-off in diplomatic ties and transport links to the country.
The suspension of air, road and shipping movements to the country means supply chains may be effected adversely.
“We need more clarity,” said Robert Jones, the managing director of Coffee Planet, which operates a distribution centre in Qatar.
“We are lucky in one respect in that it is a small percentage of our business. We do not have to send stock daily, more like monthly, and our partner there has a stock of product. Obviously we will work with regional suppliers and see what we can do. We will assess the situation over the coming days.”
Majid Al Futtaim, the largest mall owner and operator in the Middle East, has five Carrefour hypermarkets in Doha. It did not respond to requests for comment from The National. The mall and hypermarket operator Lulu Group has big plans for expansion in Qatar, opening its first and second hypermarkets in 2016 with another three planned for this year.
It also declined to comment on the potential impact to its operations from the diplomatic row.
Qatar relies on its neighbours for its supplies and its businesses would not be able to withstand any prolonged exclusion, according to one retailer.
“It will definitely have a negative impact on the domestic market,” said Asad Abbas Badami, managing director of Al-Muqarram Auto Spare Parts Trading.
“We are based in Dubai and we will stand with whatever the Government decides. Qatar is not our bread and butter we have an international spread and therefore we are insulated against any headwinds.”
Souq.com, the regional e-commerce player, was checking with its couriers to see how they might react but declined to offer a comment.
The Al Tayer group which has retail outlets in the country also declined to comment.
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Updated: June 5, 2017 04:00 AM