Tag Archives: retail

Marks & Spencer says to set up retail websites for Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan

MARCH 9 (The Bulletin) — British retailer Marks & Spencer said that it was launching websites in 46 new markets to sell its clothes, including in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. The expansion is part of a plan by Marks & Spencer to wring more value out of its brand from international markets. By opening websites targeting consumers in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, Marks & Spencer is acknowledging that both markets have matured. Marks & Spencer has operated shops in Baku and Almaty since 2014 and 2012.  

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— This story was published in issue 475 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on March 15 2021

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Georgia to reopen shops from Feb. 1

JAN. 22 2021 (The Bulletin) –Georgia’s government said that after a compulsory coronavirus lockdown, shops will be allowed to reopen from Feb. 1 and that a month later, on March 1, schools and public transport will restart operations. Georgia had been praised for its tough initial lockdown but had to redouble efforts in the autumn after a far worse-than-expected second wave.

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— This story was first published in issue 469 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Carrefour opens first store in Uzbekistan

TASHKENT/DEC. 22 2020 (The Bulletin) — Carrefour, the French hypermarket brand, opened its first store in Tashkent, part of a plan to open up seven in the Uzbek capital.

Majid Al Futtaim, the Dubai-based retail and leisure franchise operator, said that the store would offer Tashkent residents their first access to a major European supermarket brand and all its products.

“As one of the most recognised retail brands in the world, Carrefour introduces an elevated shopping experience to the Uzbek market through its international standards and retail best practices, customer service, and best in-store hygiene processes,” Majid Al Futtaim said in a statement.

The coronavirus pandemic, though, appears to have dented Majid Al Futtaim’s ambitions. In 2019, it promised to open four stores by the end of 2020 in Uzbekistan and another three by the end of 2021.

Majid Al Futtaim has opened Carrefour stores in Armenia, Georgia and Kazakhstan over the past few years. The Carrefour store in Almaty was closed in 2017, 15 months after it opened, because of a lack of interest from shoppers.

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— This story was first published in issue 467 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Proctor & Gamble says it is considering building a plant in Uzbekistan

TASHKENT/Jan. 7 2020 (The Bulletin) — Proctor & Gamble, one of the world’s largest producer of consumer goods, is considering setting up a production site in Uzbekistan, the Uzbek government said.

According to Uzbekistan’s ministry of investment and foreign trade, regional executives from Proctor & Gamble flew to Tashkent for a meeting with ministers.

“Procter & Gamble is currently studying the industrial potential of Uzbekistan and considering the prospects of creating high-tech production facilities in the country,” media reports said of the meeting on Dec. 24. “In the operations in the country, the company will follow American standards of quality and environmental friendliness.”

If Proctor & Gamble did set up a production facility in Uzbekistan it would be a major coup for the Uzbek government which has been trying to woo foreign investment and to present itself as the premier business location in Central Asia.

The company, which is based in Cincinnati and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, is best known for its brands such as washing up powders Ariel and Tide, shampoo brand Head & Shoulders and shaving products sold as Gillette. It has not commented on the Uzbek government statement.

Like other Western companies, Proctor & Gamble reentered the Uzbek market in 2017, the year after Islam Karimov, the reclusive autocrat who had run the country since the 1991 collapse of the USSR, died. Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who had been PM under Karimov, took over as president and immediately promised to dismantle most of the hardline policies. He also made it easier for Western companies to repatriate profits.

There are currently 260 people working at Proctor & Gamble’s distribution site in Uzbekistan.

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— This story was first published in issue 433 of the weekly Bulletin on Jan. 13 2020

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Retail franchise Spar to open in Armenia

NOV. 5 (The Bulletin) — The retail franchise Spar will set up shops in Armenia from 2020, the business lobby group Invest in Armeni said. It did not say who would operate the franchise. Armenia’s economy has been growing, making it an increasingly attractive prospect for international franchise. There are 12,500 shops operating under the Spar brand in 44 countries. In the region, Spar already operates in Georgia and Azerbaijan.

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— This story was first published in issue 428 of the weekly Bulletin.

Azerbaijanis shop in crisis-hit Iran

SEPT. 23 (The Conway Bulletin) – The number of Azerbaijanis shopping in neighbouring Iran this year has increased by 43.4% from last year because of a collapse in the Iranian economy, media reported quoting government figures. Re-imposed US sanctions have hit Iran hard and devalued its rial currency. This has meant that, with improved Iran-Azerbaijan relations, Azerbaijanis have been able to travel across the border on short-term visas for inexpensive shopping trips.
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>>This story was published in issue 387 of The Conway Bulletin on Oct. 1 2018

Carrefour to open second Armenia store

YEREVAN/SEPT. 28 (The Conway Bulletin) — — French hypermarket brand Carrefour is likely to open its second store in Yerevan in October, France’s ambassador to Armenia, Jonathan Lacote, told media.

The opening of another Carrefour store in Yerevan is another sign that Armenia is recovering efficiently from a 2014-17 regional economic downturn. Carrefour opened its first store in Armenia in 2015.

Nikol Pashinyan, Armenian PM since a revolution in April and May, was also quick to hold up the promise of a second Carrefour store as evidence that the country’s fortunes had improved under his careful leadership.

He said that Carrefour had been considering downsizing when he took over as PM.

“One of my first actions was to visit the Carrefour supermarket, because at the time I took office Carrefour was the only supermarket operating lawfully,” he said. “I can now say that this process (of downsizing) is suspended and the process of expansion is guaranteed.”

Carrefour store openings and closings have become important economic barometers in the region. In May 2017, Carrefour closed its only store in Kazakhstan, just 15 months after Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev had opened it, because of weak economic conditions.

By contrast in Georgia, which has had a strong economic resurgence, Carrefour has said it wants to open a third hypermarket.

Dubai-based Majid Al Futtaim operates the Carrefour franchises in Central Asia and the South Caucasus. There are currently 10 Carrefour supermarkets and two hypermarkets in Georgia, one hypermarket in Armenia and one in Tajikistan.
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>>This story was published in issue 387 of The Conway Bulletin on Oct. 1 2018

“Made in Uzbekistan” label to be launched

JAN 5 (The Conway Bulletin) — Uzbek officials said that they were going to introduce a new label, Uztexile, that will only be given to clothes that meet the highest ethical, environmental and manufacturing techniques, the chairman of the industry association Uztekstilprom, Ilkhom Khaidarov, told media. The new label appears to be another attempt to improve Uzbekistan’s image for cotton. It is a major cotton producer and wants to start processing and exporting an increasing amount of its crop.

— This story was first published on Jan. 5 2018 in issue 356 of The Conway Bulletin

Starbuks opening in Ashgabat is fake news

AUG. 25 2017 (The Conway Bulletin) — Hundreds of people were taken in by images that appeared to show that Starbucks, the US coffee shop chain, had opened up its first store in Turkmenistan (Aug. 25).
Various pictures showed young Turkmen drinking coffee at what looked like a Starbucks coffee shop in Ashgabat.
The fake news appears to have been spread initially by a little-known website called http://www.atavatan-turkmenistan.com.
The original post said that Starbucks had opened in a shopping mall ahead of the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games which opens later this month.
Starbucks has only just opened its first stores in Kazakhstan, Central Asia’s economic powerhouse, and has not announced any plans to open in Turkmenistan or anywhere else across the region.
Neither the Turkmen government nor Starbucks have commented on the fake news.

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Copyright ©The Conway Bulletin — all rights reserved

(News report from Issue No. 342, published on Sept. 7 2017

Carrefour to open in Georgia

JUNE 22 2017 (The Bulletin) — Highlighting Georgia’s improving economy, Dubai-based retail company Majid Al Futtim signed a deal with Wissol Group to launch another Carrefour store in Georgia at a new shopping centre outside Batumi. Majid Al Futtim currently runs two Carrefour hyper- markets in Georgia and six super- markets. By comparison, this year Majid Al Futtim said that it was closing its only Carrefour store in Kazakhstan because the economy and market were too small. It had been only been open for 15 months.

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Copyright ©Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin — all rights reserved

(News report from Issue No. 334, published on June 26 2017)