Saturday 28, May 2016

Dubai – MENA Herald: The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai has introduced new criteria standards for licensing groceries in the emirate, with the aim of establishing a uniform identity for such stores and make them look consistent from inside and outside in line with international standards. Although the new standards will be effective from the second half of 2016, groceries currently operating in Dubai will have time till the second half of 2018 to ensure full compliance with those standards.

DED is introducing the new standards as part of its efforts to improve the quality of services available to the public in Dubai, particularly in the retail sector, thereby reinforcing the emirate’s position as a preferred shopping destination, regionally and internationally.

The new criteria cover various basic and operational requirements, including: unification of logo and business identity; colour scheme; signage; exterior finish; interior (fixtures and display units); storage area, as well as fittings and lighting. The operational requirements should comply with the standards of the Health & General Safety Department of Dubai Municipality with regard to the design of the store, product display and classification, training, storage, health and personal hygiene, smoking, and prohibited pets.

“Through these new standards, DED is seeking to make a quantum leap in Dubai’s renowned shopping experience, and also enabling groceries to reflect the growth attained by the city in terms of infrastructure and service quality. The new concept stems from the emirate’s policy of enhancing competitiveness within various business sectors, and meeting the needs of the local community as well as visitors,” said Omar Bushahab, CEO of the Business Registration & Licensing (BRL) sector in DED.

Bushahab said there are more than 2,800 groceries in Dubai as per estimates from 2015 and the number is increasing, adding that the diversity of nationalities and the advanced infrastructure in Dubai present a significant opportunity for grocery stores to improve their services. DED continues to promote development across all vital business sectors to enhance investor confidence and competitiveness in each of these sectors.

The standards now being introduced for groceries, mark the first phase of DED’s development strategy and the next phase will see such uniform standards being extended to other important sectors, based on opinion polls and studies conducted by DED periodically, added Bushahab.

Walid Abdul Malik, Head of Business Licensing in DED, said: “The BRL team held meetings with 140 grocery store owners in Dubai, which were chosen according to areas in Dubai and nationalities of the owners of groceries bearing in mind covering the largest possible segment of people across Dubai. We briefed these storeowners on the new criteria, including those relating to displays and internal as well as external appearance, and the importance of these standards in the sustainability of their business as well as that of business in Dubai

“The grocery owners can start aligning their stores with the new standards from today onwards, and the Department of Economic Development will facilitate closure of such shops if the owners wish to start the improvement process of their groceries. However, they have two years to complete the necessary changes and ensure full compliance with the new standards. We expect 20% of the grocery stores to comply with the new standards by the end of 2016, and the remaining 80% to complete the transition by 2018,” Abdul Malik explained.

DED is continuously focusing on facilitating diverse business sectors and activities in Dubai through policy reforms, innovative initiatives and smart solutions that promote overall competitiveness and sustainable economic development in Dubai, and the UAE in general.