Muslim Brotherhood to launch chain store

Investors affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood plan to launch a chain store in two months, which they expect to acquire a great share of the retail market in Egypt.

Brotherhood sources told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the chain supermarket would be named Zad, adding that presidential hopeful Khairat al-Shater is a prominent shareholder in the project, in addition to other Brotherhood leaders as well as investors who have links to the group.

The sources, which asked to remain anonymous, said Shater registered his share under the name of his son-in-law after he announced his presidential run. The sources added that the store bears a trademark similar to the Turkish Zad and expected that the Turkish Zad might have a share, as well, in the project.

"We have started negotiating with major local food factories, as well as other factories, to supply us with products," the source added.

The sources said that the headquarters of the chain store would be on Mostafa al-Nahas Street in Nasr City and that other 25 branches would be inaugurated within the first two months, then the store would expand gradually in other governorates.  

The branches will open in densely-populated areas, though the first one will be in Nasr City, the source added.

The move is expected to ignite competition in the Egyptian retail market in which 10 chains of local and international supermarket brands compete, most notably Carrefour, Spinneys, Metro, Macro ,Fatat Allah, Zahran, Abo Zekri, and Awlad Hagag. Some of these supermarkets belong to investors linked to the Salafi movement.

Retail sources, who asked to remain anonymous, stressed that Zad’s entry into the market sparked a war over workers, noting that Spinneys' Nasr City branch has been most affected branch so far, along with the Metro branch there. Metro is owned by the Mansour Group, a company that belongs to the family of Mohamed Mansour, a former Transportation Minister. The sources said that a number of managers and workers who worked at these branches have moved to Zad.

Zad sources said there may be more than one branch on the same street.

Khaled Abu Ismail, president of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce, commented on the issue, saying, “Most likely the little merchant and grocer will be the victims of the competition between large chains and large corporations, which get marketing concessions because of the large size of their purchases.”

“Grocery stores should get ready for the coming competition,” he added.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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