Fathima is a company known for providing attractive retail environments: promotional literature shows local stores offering a range of fresh foods and other products in neatly organized store plans. In addition to supermarkets and department stores, Fathima operates “fashion” retail outlets and other kinds of stores.
Now, the company is making a high-stakes play to take its business into seven new locations.
Giant department stores combined with supermarkets are planned for locations such as the Dubai waterfront, the Sharjah and Ras al Khaimah emirates, and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, as well as Sobha City/Thrissur in India. Fathima hopes to build upon its established reputation with the new stores, widening the scope of its merchandising well beyond the Gulf coast.
Although the designs for the large retail locations are stunning in and of themselves, perhaps the most impressive part of the expansion involves building new distribution models that will support the large volumes of sales the hypermarkets are expected to handle.
To source materials for these locations, Fathima Group will also build a large food manufacturing facility in Dubai Investment Park for about 70 million AED. The central location at Dubai investment Park will have significant cold storage facilities and will be a foundation for distribution across the UAE. It will also include a central corporate office with the ability to house 1000 employees.
Along with the sizable personnel and warehouse spaces, there is a particular plan to accommodate cold storage on the DIP site: a 500,000-square-foot cold storage facility is implementing improvements like energy-efficient lighting, labor efficient automation and other state-of-the-art designs. Advanced technologies will track products and keep perishables in good condition. Fathima's systems are expected to demonstrate some of the newest capabilities of a supply chain model aimed at deploying resources to international commercial networks.
“(The new center will) provide fast and efficient packaging, storage and distribution of goods in the warehouse and faster delivery to retail stores,” Sulaiman Haji, managing director of Fathima Group, recently told Gulf News Journal. “The unit is supposed to be a central logistics division of the Fathima retail and distribution business … apart from that cold storage, spices, pulses, food products are some of them.”
Haji also commented on the company’s current business footprint.
“Presently, Fathima Group operates in UAE, Saudi, Oman, India, China,” Haji said. “Soon our operations will commence in Malaysia.”
Press statements show Fathima experiencing 12 percent business growth in the current year, and company leaders are banking on that growth being enough to support the new developments. Time will show how the large investment will help the chain to reach new consumer markets and serve a growing population in the GCC and abroad.