Dubai-based retail giant Majid Al Futtaim has announced that it will open its first Carrefour stores in Uzbekistan, marking the first entry of an international grocery retailer into the Central Asian country.
Seven stores are set to open over the next two years as part of the initial expansion phase, with three supermarkets and one hypermarket coming online in 2020 and an additional two supermarkets followed by one hypermarket in 2021.
These stores will collectively contribute to 17,400 sq m of total retail area across Tashkent, the retailer said in a statement.
Hani Weiss, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim - Retail said: “A supportive government, growing economy, and high demand for a customer centric offering like ours makes Uzbekistan a compelling fit for our expansion into Central Asia.
"As the first international grocery retailer to enter the market, we look forward to working with AKFA Group and combining their knowledge of the local landscape with our expertise in the modern retail sector.”
The announcement came as Majid Al Futtaim signed an agreement with AKFA Group, the largest private company in Uzbekistan with a diverse portfolio that includes construction, hospitality, telecommunications, financial services, healthcare and food production. The AKFA Group also owns retail and real estate assets which will host all seven Carrefour stores.
Abduvakhitov A Alisher, CEO of Retail Division (Atlas) of Akfa Group of Companies, said: “As our President’s main objective is to open Uzbekistan to the whole world and attract new investments, we have been in discussions with Majid Al Futtaim since February 2017 to open hypermarkets and supermarkets under the Carrefour brand in Tashkent.
"We look forward to a successful partnership and believe that a new era will start in the retail market due to Carrefour’s presence in Uzbekistan.”
Carrefour’s operations will create almost 2,500 jobs directly and indirectly within the first two years.
Majid Al Futtaim holds the exclusive franchise rights to operate Carrefour in over 30 countries and currently operates over 285 Carrefour stores in 15 markets. Recently, the company announced it will open its first stores in Uganda before the end of the year.