Retail UAE’s Majid Al Futtaim sees 73% surge in digital grocery sales By Shane McGinley August 24, 2022 Supplied MAF operates the Carrefour supermarket brand in the Middle East, Africa and Asia Retail revenue up 9% in H1 and digital sales up 73%MAF opened 18 new Carrefour supermarkets in region UAE retail conglomerate Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) recorded a 73 percent year-on-year rise in digital grocery sales in the first half of 2022, helping its total pre-tax earnings to rise 18 percent. The privately owned company, which operates the Carrefour supermarket brand in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, said earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation in the first six months of the year amounted to AED1.9 billion ($517 million), as revenue rose 15 percent year-on-year to AED18 billion. While revenue for the retail segment grew nine percent in the same period to AED14.4 billion, digital sales surged 73 percent to AED453 million. Net zero is old hat, says the mall owner that wants to go biggerLet the tills ring out: retail is back with a vengeance in the UAE “Retailing trends, such as the consumer demand for digital and omnichannel experiences, have continued to gather pace,” the company said in a press statement. Less downloads, more spending Despite MAF’s strong digital growth, data published on Tuesday by San Francisco-headquartered digital advertising services firm AppsFlyer found that the number of retail apps downloaded in the UAE in the first half of 2022 declined by nine percent. “This is likely due to the surge the sector experienced throughout the pandemic, a feat that has been hard to replicate as consumers have regained their ability to visit physical stores,” the company said in a press report. Despite the lower volume of downloads, AppsFlyer found that ecommerce apps in the UAE recorded a 41 percent year-on-year growth in in-app purchases during the period. MAF’s State of the UAE Retail Economy report showed 15% increase in food and beverages spending MAF owns and operates 29 shopping malls, 13 hotels and four mixed-use communities across the Middle East and Africa, including flagship projects such as Mall of the Emirates, Mall of Egypt, City Centre malls, and My City Centre neighbourhood centres. It also is the exclusive franchisee for Carrefour in 37 markets across the Middle East, Africa and Asia. It opened 18 new outlets across its network in H1 2022, bringing the total number of stores to 441. The retail giant reported that shopping mall tenant sales increased by 21 percent year-on-year, as football to its venues rose 20 percent to 100 million visitors. MAF also operates the VOX Cinemas chain, with the number of movie tickets sold increasing 60 percent year-on-year to 8.8 million. The State of the UAE Retail Economy report, published earlier this month by MAF, showed that overall spending increased by 22 percent in the first six months of 2022 compared to the same period last year. The rise was driven by growth of 16 percent in retail spending and 31 percent in non-retail sectors. Spending increased on food and beverages (15 percent), hotels (14 percent) and pharmacy and health (14 percent).