Hypermarket operator Union Cooperative is set to embark on a major expansion by opening new hypermarkets, foraying into convenience stores and nearly doubling its existing employees, a senior company official said.
Khaled Al Falasi, General Manager of Union Coop, told Emirates 24|7 in Dubai that the company will be investing more than Dh2 billion in the next five years to open eight hypermarkets, out of which three will be malls.
The company will also foray into convience stores and aims to open 300 of them across the UAE,Al Falasi said.
The company is going to nearly double its number of employees to 6,000 from existing 3,200, he said, adding that Emiratisation makes up nearly 40 per cent, excluding blue-collar workers.
“We’re also going to launch convenience stores in the UAE from the beginning of next year in partnership with another government department with the first outlet slated to open in Al Mizhar.
“We’ll introduce these convenience stores near mosques; these are not just going to be convenience store, but also a pick-up point from where you can collect items ordered at Union Coop. We’ll be looking at opening 300 shops,” Al Falasi told this website.
All of Union Coop’s existing stores will be transformed into smart stores, he said.
Union Coop also manages Ajman Cooperative Society in Ajman and the Armed Forces Society in Abu Dhabi as per management and operating contracts.
He said the hypermarket operator is negotiating few more management contracts which will be announced in due course.
Al Falasi was speaking after the launch a co-branded card between the Union Coop and Emirates Islamic bank.
He forecast that the credit card usage is expected to increase substantially over the next few years in the emirates.
“We believe that in the next three to five years, 50 per cent of transactions in the hypermarkets will be by credit cards,” he added.
Replying to a query about credit card business, Emirates Islamic CEO Jamal Bin Ghalaita said a credit card is always a good business for all banks as people are increasingly shifting from cash.
He revealed that the bank has close to half a million customers.