Majid Al Futtaim (MAF), the UAE-based retail group, launched an online marketplace under the Carrefour brand on April 23rd. Tenants at MAF’s shopping malls and other small businesses in the UAE will list their products on the platform. MAF, which has been trialing this marketplace for six months, claims to have seen orders surge by more than ten times to average over 1,300 daily orders in recent weeks. It has now converted this online site into a marketplace to build a hyperlocal presence in the UAE. The company has enabled commission-free ordering for its mall tenants for April and May and facilitated a 30-day free, last-mile delivery for new third-party vendors. Some of its shopping mall tenants—Borders, LUSH, Tavola, Arabian Oud, and Jacky’s—have already signed up on the marketplace.
COVID-19 has accelerated the shift to online channels at an exponential pace in the UAE. Even as the government eases certain restrictions, social distancing measures will stay, and tourist inflows are unlikely to pick up. While online shopping for food and essentials will remain popular, we expect luxury and fashion and apparel retailers to focus on online channels to attract domestic consumers.
Source: The Economist