Emirates National Oil Company (Enoc) has announced plans to open 30 Zoom convenience stores a year across the country until it reaches 500 by 2025, the energy company owned by the Dubai Government said on Monday.
Enoc said the plan, which will include stand-alone stores, stores in Enoc service stations and franchise stores, is a result of increasing customer demand and population growth.
There are more than 200 Zoom stores in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah and Umm Al Qaiwain, distinguished by their red and white signs, popping up in petrol stations and Dubai Metro stations, as neighbourhood corner shops and as larger supermarkets.
Enoc also said it plans to open another 18 stores in petrol stations in Saudi Arabia over the next two years, bringing its total number of stores in the country to 27. The company operates three petrol station convenience stores, with another six due to open later this year.
Because of the low price of petrol, stations in the UAE have historically relied on retail sales at stores and food outlets to generate most of their revenue.
“We are evolving as a true convenience store player, and taking Zoom beyond its original concept as a service station convenience store,” said Saif Al Falasi, the Enoc group chief executive.
“We are studying strategic partnership opportunities with developers and hotels to identify attractive locations, redefining customer expectations and experience by changing our merchandise mix, and exploring newer options of the look-and-feel format.”
Despite an economic slowdown caused by the fall in global oil prices, the retail market in the UAE is still expanding.
According to a forecast from the retail consultancy Euromonitor, expenditure in the Emirates is on track to increase by 7 per cent this year to US$53.7 billion.
The property consultancy CBRE reports that Abu Dhabi and Dubai have a combined 626,887 square metres of retail space under construction, up by 11 per cent on a year ago.
Meanwhile, landlords are revamping petrol stations globally in an attempt to realise their full potential to shoppers. In the UK, 1,375 petrol station forecourts changed hands last year – a 56 per cent increase on a year ago – as private equity investors snapped up £3bn (Dh14.4bn) worth of sites, with plans to sweat the assets and bring in new brands.
In February, Enoc announced it would build 54 new petrol stations in Dubai and renovate two more to cope with increasing demand. In Saudi Arabia the company said it planned to build another 11 stations.
The news comes a year after Abu Dhabi oil company Adnoc announced its plans to build 125 new petrol stations across Abu Dhabi and the northern emirates, and to expand into Saudi Arabia.
Follow The National’s Business section on Twitter