Egypt slides to 15th place in global retail index

Sabah Hamamou
4 Min Read

CAIRO: Egypt, Morocco and Turkey slid in the Global Retail Development Index while the United Arab of Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia made the biggest jumps.

Egypt came in 15th place in the annual index, which was issued last week by global management and research consulting firm A.T. Kearney, down from fifth place last year.

The top 10 included India, Russia, China, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam Chile, Brazil Slovenia and Malaysia.

The next five places went to Algeria, Mexico, Latvia, Tunisia, and Egypt.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) made the biggest jump, going from 20th place in 2008 to fourth this year. Morocco, however, slid from sixth to 19th and Turkey went from 10th to 20th.

The report attributed the drop of Egypt, Morocco and Turkey to effects of the economic crisis on the tourism and real estate industries in these countries.

“Egypt relies heavily on tourism, remittances, investment from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and Suez Canal revenues, so it is feeling the impact of the economic crisis.

“As these sources of income decline, it will hamper the government’s ability to spend, said the report.

For his part, however, Carrefour’s Country Director Herve Majidier, said Egypt fared better than most amid the crisis.

“Throughout the financial crisis, Carrefour Egypt operations have been much better than in other Middle East countries; [namely] Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE and even Syria and Jordan, Majidier told Daily News Egypt.

He cited the size of the population – Egypt is the most populous Arab country – and a growing category of customers aged between 24 and 35, are “young professional couples and generate good income that make up a new niche market.

Carrefour ranks second among global supermarket chains after Wal-Mart of the United States. The chain operates 10,000 hypermarkets, supermarkets and smaller outlets.

While the UAE and Saudi Arabia are generally seen to have been hit harder by the economic crisis than Egypt, the index indicates otherwise, attributing their rise in ranks “to an economy that has remained relatively sturdy during the global recession.

“Consumption is correlated with income level, and if we compared the per capita in Egypt, Morocco and Turkey to these of UAE and Saudi Arabia, it will explain the 2009 rank, Hassan Abbas, general manager of Egyptian Consultant Company for Investment Support and Development, said.

Egypt’s per capita income is $1,580, Morocco’s is $2,250 and Turkey’s is $8,020, according to World Bank statistics. Meanwhile, the UAE and Saudi Arabia exceed these countries by multiples, at $23,770 and $15,440, respectively.

“You have to bear in mind, Abbas said, “that when international retail investors look for expansion, they definitely consider per capita income as a main factor. Still, in the past few years, major US brands have entered our [Egypt] market, for instance H&M and recently Zara.

The report’s analysis supported Abbas’ viewpoint, saying that “demand for foreign goods, convenience and cleanliness has driven consumers to modern outlets, making Egypt an attractive market for long-term investment.

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