DED sets new standards for licensing grocery stores

RetailME Bureau

The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai has introduced new standards for licensing groceries in the emirate to establish a uniform identity for such stores and make them look consistent from inside and outside. The new international standards will be effective from the second half of 2016. Groceries currently operating in Dubai will have time till the second half of 2018 to ensure full compliance with the standards.

The new standards are part of DED’s efforts to improve the quality of services available to the public in Dubai, particularly in the retail sector, to consolidate the emirate’s status as a premier global shopping destination.

The new criteria, which cover basic and operational requirements, seek to unify logo and business identity; colour scheme; signage; exterior finish; interior (fixtures and display units); storage area as well as fittings and lighting. The operational requirements should comply with Dubai Municipality’s Health & General Safety Department standards for store design, product display and classification, training, storage, health and personal hygiene, smoking and prohibited pets.

“DED seeks to make a quantum leap in Dubai’s shopping experience with these new standards. They will enable groceries to reflect the growth attained by the city in terms of infrastructure and service quality. They stem from the emirate’s policy to enhance competitiveness in business sectors and meet the needs of the local community as well as visitors,” says Omar Bushahab, CEO of the business registration & licensing (BRL) sector in DED.

According to him, Dubai has more than 2,800 groceries as per 2015 estimates and the number is increasing. The diversity of nationalities and Dubai’s advanced infrastructure present the opportunity for grocery stores to improve their services.

“The standards mark the first phase of DED’s development strategy. The next phase will see uniform standards extended to other important sectors, based on opinion polls and studies we conduct,” adds Bushahab.

“The BRL team held meetings with 140 grocery store owners in Dubai, chosen according to areas in Dubai and nationalities of the owners, to cover the largest possible segment of people across the emirate. We briefed the store owners on the new criteria, including those relating to displays and internal as well as external appearance. We also emphasised the importance of these standards for sustaining their business,” says Walid Abdul Malik, head of business licensing in DED.

“Grocery owners can start implementing the new standards immediately and the DED will facilitate closure of shops if the owners wish to start the improvement process. They have two years to complete the changes and ensure full compliance with the new standards. We expect 20% of the grocery stores to comply with the new standards by end-2016, and the remaining 80% to complete the transition by 2018,” explains Abdul Malik.