LuLu Group to pump investments into NEOM

Retail giant’s vibrant entry


Saudi Gazette

LULU GROUP, a retail giant in the Mideast, is vigorously going ahead with an ambitious plan to capitalize on the Kingdom’s sweeping economic reforms, according to its Chairman Yusuffali M.A. “We are upbeat on taking advantage of the vast investment opportunities laid open in the Kingdom, thanks to the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. Our group plans to make investments in the $500 billion NEOM transnational megacity and economic zone,” he said, adding that the investment processing work is under way in this regard.

Yusuffali made these remarks on Wednesday after opening the Abu Dhabi-headquartered Group’s 11th Hy¬permarket in the Kingdom in Jeddah’s Marwah district. The business tycoon said that he was among those investors who attended the Riyadh Future Investment Initiative, which was a pioneering global investment event that drew the world’s most powerful investors to the Kingdom, and where the giant NEOM project was announced by Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense. He thanked Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, Saudi government, and people for the great support being extended to his group.

Yusuffali, whom Forbes listed as the 24th wealthiest Indian, welcomed the economic reforms being introduced in the Kingdom, saying that investors need to support the measures taken to boost the Kingdom’s economy and have to play an active role in the efforts to generate more jobs for the citizens. Referring to the impact of the introduction of value added tax (VAT) from January on the Kingdom’s economy and prospects of investors, Yusuffali said that VAT is one of the steps to further strengthen the nation’s economy. “We have to cooperate with such measures as we are obliged to abide by the rules and regulations of the country where we are living,” he said.

Yusuffali said that his group gives priority in generating jobs for young Saudis, especially women. “I think it is the duty of all businessmen and investors to create more jobs for the local jobseekers. As I promised earlier, our goal is to employ 5,000 Saudis by 2020 and 10,000 by 2024. Currently, our group employs 2,400 Saudi nationals out of which 1,100 are females and we consider it our duty to nurture them as we have a very hardworking, dedicated and productive manpower among Saudi nationals,” he said, adding that there are 250 Saudi women working in the group’s Jeddah outlets.

Abeera Al-Harbi, a supervisor of Saudi women staff at the newly opened Hypermarket, said that they are excited and fully satisfied with the work environment at the outlet. Speaking to Saudi Gazette, she said: “It is an amazing experience to work with LuLu and interact with the group’s top management, headed by Yusuffali. “The arrangements for women staff at the Hypermarket are perfect and professional. There are 500 Saudi young men and women, including 80 frontline women cashiers,” she said.

According to Al-Harbi, the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 is like jackpot for Saudi women. “We, the young Saudi women, are highly excited and enthusiastic to witness the massive reforms and changes taking place in the country with decisions such as permission to drive, and opening up of more vistas for women jobseekers. All credit goes to our dynamic and visionary Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman for this boost for Saudi women,” she added.

Echoing the same view, Ahmad Fuad Kamil Al-Hilmi, frontline manager of the Hypermarket, said that all the Saudi staff are all fully satisfied with the excellent working environment at the LuLu facility. “The presence of Yusuffali and the management of the group is encouraging for the entire staff. It was a very positive feeling for us to have all the top management here to motivate us to do our work in the best possible manner,” he said.

Al-Hilmi, who did his graduation from the United States, thanked the management for supporting Saudi staff to improve their professional efficiency. “Though I did my studies in interior designing, photography and architecture, I took up the job of supervisor at the retail giant and am fully satisfied with the work environment at LuLu Group.

“We are highly motivated and excited with the motto of the company to reward hard work, dedication and sincerity. Whoever is putting hard work, spend more time and exert extra efforts with dedication can manage to reach the higher positions at the group in a gradual manner,” he said while citing his own personal experience.

Al-Hilmi, who joined the group as a supervisor nearly 10 months ago, has been promoted to the frontline manager of the group’s 142nd Hypermarket. LuLu Group’s first Hypermarket was opened in Jeddah on May 29 last year.