The UAE arm of the American convenience store chain Circle K opened its newest store at Souk Madinat Jumeirah on January 20. The 475 sqft Circle K store is located strategically at the Souk Madinat entrance when approaching from basement parking.
The new location has been able to attract a mix of residents and tourists. While the early morning hours bring in executives working in Souk Madinat followed by tourists – predominately European and Chinese so far – until afternoon. Residents tend to come in during evenings and weekends.
In an exclusive interview with RetailME, Laurent Guitart, general manager of Circle K UAE, shares, “Our store at Souk Madinat reinforces our leadership position in the convenience store category, where we offer approximately 2,000 items. Beverages sell quite well, especially mineral water, followed by all kinds of salty snacks and candies. Our first customer arrives at 7:30am to grab a quick breakfast with coffee, and the last customer walks out at 2am on weekends.”
Keeping products available from 7-2am is challenging and requires efficient planning. Every day fresh products are delivered between 6-and-9am, while dry grocery items get replenished on a weekly basis.
“The concept of convenience is limitless,” says Guitart. “It is not only being able to pick up a fresh sandwich and juice. It also means being able to shop for sunscreen, especially in the Souk Madinat location so that you can go for a swim. We will continue adding more items while removing a few if required.”
Souk Madinat is one of the most visited tourist locations in Dubai. The Circle K store, thus, had to be designed in a manner that matched the spirit of the community. The store sports wooden doors, while the shelves are black to match the colour scheme of the venue. The Souk Madinat Circle K store has also seen the launch of a new generation chiller concept from Italy to keep products fresh for longer.
Importantly, with the Souk Madinat store, Circle K UAE announced its new brand identity with the ‘Circle K Take it Easy’ tagline.
“We want to make shopping easy and convenient for our customers. We offer a wide range of products from fresh to frozen, salty to sweets as well as electronics and beauty products. Our current locations are not of the same size, they don’t sport the same fit-out and they don’t offer the same merchandise. We have to adapt to each community we go into, instead of asking customers to adapt to our format. Our motto is to speak the same language as our customers in every location we go to,” Guitart adds.
Through its network of 33 stores, Circle K is present in locations that are strategic, iconic, upmarket and essential. The locations include business hubs like Emaar Business Park to a retail unit at Emirates Towers, from hospitals like Cleveland Clinic to educational institutes like Khalifa University, from Ibn Battuta Mall to business communities in Dubai Media City, from Holiday Inn at Safa Park to Dubai Chamber of Commerce, to name a few.
“We spend a lot of time scouting for the right locations. We brainstorm with our board members on what makes a certain location strategic for us. It’s not only about opening a store; there is a science behind opening in the right locations to serve our customers in the best possible manner. We have had to work very hard to gain the required expertise to operate anything between a big store and a kiosk, and in any location in the UAE,” Guitart concludes.