Is it the end of the road for Groupe Casino in the Gulf

July 23, 2017 | By RetailME Bureau

Will the recent acquisition of Retail Arabia, the master franchisee for Groupe Casino, by Majid Al Futtaim spell the end of Gèant’s presence in the Gulf?

According to the deal, agreed between Dubai-based Retail Arabia’s parent company BMA International and shopping mall developer and retail and leisure operator, Majid Al Futtaim, all of the acquired stores, will be rebranded under its French rival Carrefour.  These include 26 Gèant hypermarkets, supermarkets and convenience stores in the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait and four Gulfmart supermarkets in Bahrain.

The acquisition will see Carrefour extend its leading position in the UAE by increasing its store count from 67 to 80, while in Bahrain and Kuwait, it will further establish the brand as one of the largest grocery retail operators by increasing its stores to 11 and eight respectively. Majid Al Futtaim has confirmed that all Retail Arabia’s employees will be retained following the acquisition and empowered to deliver Carrefour’s world-renowned customer experience.

The Gèant hypermarket format, modelled to match the best in Europe, was opened in Bahrain in May 2001 at the Bahrain Mall, also owned by Retail Arabia’s holding company BMA International. In March 2005 Geant came to the UAE with the opening of the first hypermarket in the Ibn Battuta Mall, Dubai with Gèant Kuwait open in 2009.

In September 2013 Géant hypermarket anchored the Wahat Hili Mall in Al Ain followed by the region’s largest Géant hypermarket at Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi, in December 2014. A year later, another hypermarket opened at Dragon Mart 2 in Dubai and in 2016 at Fujairah Mall.

Nobody may have foreseen the fate of Gèant at this stage. Although along with Géant, Retail Arabia successfully launched its supermarket brand Géant easy and convenience store brands in Bahrain, Dubai and Kuwait, there remained several unanswered questions. There was a seven-year gap from its first hypermarket at Ibn Battuta Mall in 2015 to the second hypermarket at Wahat Hili Mall in Al Ain in 2013, which was subsequently replaced by Lulu hypermarket in 2016.

It was not the first instance when Groupe Casino faced such a situation in the Gulf. In July 2009 Saudi-based Savola Group acquired all Géant supermarkets owned by Fawaz Alhokair Group, absorbing its second retail competitor since 2008 for 440 million Saudi Riyals ($117 million).  The deal enabled Savola’s retail arm Azizia Panda to rebrand 11 Géant stores spread across the kingdom since its launch in 2004. In 2008, Azizia Panda acquired and rebranded the 20 home-grown grocery chain stores – Giant, its primary competitor at the time.

In December 2011, Groupe Casino and Retail Arabia signed a franchise deal with Al Meera Consumer Goods Co to open five Géant hypermarkets in Qatar and Oman. Earlier this year, Al Meera also opened the region’s first Monoprix at Doha Festival City.

The latest exit of Géant from the Gulf marks the second such move for a French grocery chain. In mid-2008, Auchan signed a contract with the Dubai-based master developer Nakheel to form a joint venture – Hypercorp LLC. The first Auchan hypermarket at Dragon Mart opened in October 2009 and closed before the end of 2010. That ended Auchan’s presence in the Gulf.

Now, will the two French grocery chains look to re-enter the region with new partners?



Previous Article Next Article


Union Coop, a consumer cooperative in the UAE, revealed that 78% of 

Continue Reading

August 24, 2021 | By Jibran Chouguley

Union Coop has opened its 23rd branch within the UAE in Jumeirah 

Continue Reading

August 2, 2021 | By Jibran Chouguley

Nando’s has revealed their revamped Sheikh Zayed Road outlet where newcomers and 

Continue Reading

July 8, 2021 | By Jibran Chouguley

UAE-based Al Maya Group announced that it will be boosting import of 

Continue Reading

June 24, 2021 | By RetailME Bureau

UAE-based grocery retail chain, Grandiose has opened its first hypermarket in Abu 

Continue Reading

June 2, 2021 | By RetailME Bureau

UAE-based Carrefour announced its theme and plans for Ramadan 2021. The brand 

Continue Reading

March 31, 2021 | By RetailME Bureau

Locally owned supermarket Spinneys celebrates 60 years of doing business in the 

Continue Reading

March 9, 2021 | By RetailME Bureau
Almarai, Carrefour, Emirates have the most loyal customers

UAE-based Carrefour will become the first retailer in the region to offer new levels 

Continue Reading

February 22, 2021 | By RetailME Bureau

The Organic Farmers’ Market is back in Bay Avenue for its 12th 

Continue Reading

February 17, 2021 | By RetailME Bureau

UAE-based  Lulu Group recently inaugurated its first-ever all-female staff store in Jeddah, 

Continue Reading

February 15, 2021 | By RetailME Bureau
Jones the grocer

Jones the Grocer, the gourmet grocer and cheese retailer launches the Jones 

Continue Reading

February 1, 2021 | By RetailME Bureau

UAE-based Al Maya Supermarkets is hosting a two-week food festival at select 

Continue Reading

January 17, 2021 | By Lawrence Pinto

Download Images RetailME Magazine