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Sharjah Summer Campaign

offers big discounts, exciting

mall events for the families


The ongoing Shar-

jah Summer Campaign organized

by the Sharjah Commerce and

Tourism Development Author-

ity (SCTDA) continues to offer

a wide range of prizes, discounts

and special shopping mall events

to provide a unique experience

for residents and visitors alike.

The campaign aims to promote

Sharjah as a leading regional and

international summer destina-

tion in line with Sharjah Tourism

Vision 2021.

As part of the campaign,

Mega Mall of Sharjah is offering

discounts up to 70 per cent, pro-

motional packages, valuable priz-

es and a host of entertainment

activities such as a ‘Kids Sum-

mer Camp’ aimed at developing

the skills and abilities of chil-

dren. Other kid-friendly offer-

ings include workshops and arts

and crafts sessions for inspiring

creativity, learning and thinking.

The mall will also organize a live

cooking show featuring various

easy recipes.

Sahara Centre, on the other

hand, is giving its visitors who

make purchases worth AED 200

a chance to win a Mercedes-

Benz S500 Cabriolet convertible;

a year’s worth of free living ex-

penses for rent, tuition fees and

utility bills; and shopping vouch-

ers. The mall is also handing

out five coupons for every AED

200 spent which can be used

for purchases at Matalan or any

restaurant on the 2nd level, East


Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chair-

man of SCTDA, said: “The Shar-

jah Summer Campaign’s various



activities, special offers, dis-

counts and prizes continue to

attract more local and foreign

tourists to the emirate. So far it is

on track to hit its target of 10 mil-

lion tourists in line with Sharjah

Tourism Vision 2021.”

Shopping malls are major

tourist attractions in Sharjah.

Khalid Jasim Al Midfa

Mideast optical industry worth €2.4 billion

Gulf stock markets

find support from

robust oil prices


A recent census of

optician stores in the United Arab

Emirates (UAE) has revealed that

the power of shopping malls to at-

tract consumer buying behavior

is growing, with a 22% rise in the

number of shopping mall-based

opticians since 2014. These loca-

tions now account for one third of

all optician business in the Emir-


GfK, the global market re-

search organization that runs a

frequent census for the UAE, also

found that the demand for both

prescription and beauty lenses has

increased since 2016, growing 9%

and 6%, respectively.

Findings from the UAE opti-

cian store census have been re-

leased ahead of the 18th edition

of Vision-X, the largest exhibition

for eyecare and eyewear profes-

sionals in the region which takes

place from 17-19 October 2017 at the

Dubai World Trade Centre.

Asma Alsharif, Visions-X’s Ex-

hibition Director, said: “The results

presented in the census directly

correlate with the trends we’ve

witnessed ahead of this year’s edi-

tion of Vision-X. There has been a

significant boom in the number of

contact lens manufacturers regis-

tering, as companies seek to carve

out their share of the burgeoning

optical industry in theMiddle East,

cited to be worth €2.4 billion.”

According to the census,

growth slowed in the first part of

2017, especially in the Technical

Consumer Goods and Eyewear

sectors, while the Contact Lenses

sector showed itself to be more re-

silient. During this period, contact

lenses demand grew 4% compared

to the same period in 2016, pushed

up by daily contact lenses (spheri-

cal and beauty).

Ludovica Aletti, Senior Ac-

count Manager at GfK, added:

“Contact Lenses are an essential

product and consumers are will-

ing to invest in this market. GfK

has audited contact lenses and

eyewear since 2014 and we have

noticed that demand is quite stable

during the year with spikes dur-

ing key sales seasons of July and

December. Despite a slow-down

in the overall eyewear market, we

are seeing a demand increase for

premium luxury models (those

priced over 200 USD), while new

features, such as combination of

metal - plastic and round lenses,

are also gaining share month on


In addition to showcasing the

latest products and designs, the

Vision-X event will host a series

of contact lens workshops high-

lighting the latest technology and

techniques for delegates, offering

hands-on experience and an op-

portunity to earn valuable CPD

points for their practices.

Running alongside these work-

shops is the Vision-X Opticare

Conference, a staple for the show,

which will host experts in the

fields of ophthalmology, optom-

etry and paediatrics to discuss the

latest developments and pressing

issues in the industry of eyecare.

Joining as the exhibition and

conference knowledge partner,

Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai,

the first overseas branch of Moor-

fields Eye Hospital in London, the

oldest eye hospital in the world,

will lend their wealth of expertise

to the show and deliver exclusive

keynote presentations to attending


The conferences will take

place in cooperation with the In-

ternational Association of Con-

tact Lens Educator (IACLE) and

Optometry Extension Program in


GfK will also share to the audi-

ence key market insights on con-

tact lenses and eyewear market on

global and local level.

Attracting more than 4,000

buyers from over 70 countries, Vi-

sion-X will showcase many of the

latest brands with dedicated areas

such as the Future in Focus and

Retail Theatre for business own-

ers and managers to improve their


Participants can also expect re-

turning exhibitors from local out-

lets, as well as from Germany and

Italy, showcasing the latest designs

for many of the major brands and

luxury names that dominate the


In addition to many European

exhibitors, Vision-X will accom-

modate an influx of South Korean

brands and manufacturers to sup-

port a growing interest from com-

panies exhibiting trends and influ-

ences from eastern markets.

Celebrating excellence in the

eyewear and optical care industry,

the Vision-X Vision Plus Awards

returns for the fourth year to pro-

vide a platform for leading brands

to celebrate the best in business.

The ceremony will take place on

Oct. 18 at the Dubai World Trade





stock markets in the Gulf rose

modestly on Sunday, lifted by a

rally in oil prices at the end of

last week, while three small to

mid-sized Saudi Arabian insur-

ers fell sharply after they were

slapped with a temporary ban

by the central bank.

Saudi stock benchmark

Tadawul All Share Index added

0.4 percent to 7,209 points as

all but two of the 14 listed pet-

rochemical producers advanced

after Brent oil surged 3.3 percent

on Friday. Rabigh Refining and

Petrochemical rose 1.6 percent.

Saudi Indian Company for

Cooperative Insurance dropped

3.8 percent, Malath Cooperative

Insurance fell 4.5 percent and

Arabian Shield Cooperative In-

surance slumped 7.6 percent.

The central bank said it

was temporarily banning those

insurers from selling vehicle

policies because of “serious

breaches” in their car insurance


Another insurer, Sabb Taka-

ful, closed up 0.2 percent. Saudi

British Bank (SABB) announced

that it had signed an agreement

to buy all of HSBC›s shares in

the insurance company for 117.8

million riyals ($31.4 million),

taking SABB›s total ownership

in the insurer to 65 percent.

The deal, which is pending

board and regulatory approv-

als, is expected to be completed

in the second half of this year.

Shares of SABB fell 0.7 percent.

In the United Arab Emirates,

Dubai›s index rose 0.4 percent

on the back of gains in stocks

that were volatile last week.

Union Properties, the most

heavily traded share on Sunday,

jumped 4.3 percent to 0.898 dir-

ham. Last week the Motor City

developer reported a big quar-

terly loss as it fixed account-

ing errors; the stock has now

regained the level where it was

trading before the announce-

ment of the loss.

“Funds with excess cash

have been chasing alpha and not

fundamentals,» said a Dubai-

based fund manager. “In such an

environment it would be hard to

call any trend or direction.”

Abu Dhabi›s index closed

flat in thin trade; Dana Gas rose

3.3 percent, while Abu Dhabi

National Energy lost 1.6 per-

cent on profit-taking from last

week›s jump.

Banking shares were robust

in Doha, helping lift the index

0.3 percent higher. Commercial

Bank gained 1.2 percent.

Elsewhere, Egypt›s index

fell 0.7 percent as shares of El

Sewedy Electric lost 1.3 percent

on profit-taking. In the previous

two sessions they had jumped

9.3 percent after the company

reported a 72 percent jump in

its second-quarter net income

and proposed a cash dividend of

8 Egyptian pounds per share.


Change in food consumption in GCC

offers crucial investment opportunities


The food and bever-

age sector in the GCC is develop-

ing, due to consumers’ changing

tastes, increased women par-

ticipation in the workforce and

a government push for healthier

diets, according to Strategy&,

formerly Booz & Company, part

of the PwC network. For food

and beverage companies, under-

standing these trends and how

they affect consumer purchases

can help unlock growth.

Overall per capita spending

in the GCC food sector is level-

ing off, but consumers are opting

for different products. “Consum-

ers in the region are shifting their

purchases away from staples and

toward more value-added prod-

ucts. These shifts happen in part

because consumers are becom-

ing more health-conscious and

are willing to spend more for

higher-quality, fresh products.

Another factor is that the retail

landscape is developing because

of this trend. As economies ad-

vance, there is greater penetra-

tion of modern retail trade out-

lets, such as supermarkets and

convenience stores, which can

carry a wider range of refriger-

ated products so that customers

have healthier options to choose

from”, said Gabriel Chahine, Part-

ner with Strategy& who leads the

consumer and retail practice in

the Middle East.

Moreover, governments in

the region are pushing for health-

ier eating. For example, the Min-

istry of Health in Saudi Arabia

is already launching awareness

campaigns to combat obesity and

diabetes. And with the imposi-

tion of steep taxes on sugary soft

drinks and energy drinks, other

countries in the GCC may also

launch similar measures to curb

obesity and diabetes in the re-

gion. Also, as women move into

the workforce, families will need

more prepared foods, and even

prepackaged meals.

As these shifts continue to

play out, they will create new op-

portunities for food companies in

the region. To better understand

these opportunities, Strategy&

analyzed product launches in

several relevant countries over

the past 10 years. The analysis

specifically looked at product

categories that showed strong

growth and innovation, with a

low penetration of private-label

offerings. The analysis revealed

four promising categories in the

GCC over the next 10 to 15 years

— snacks, spreads, prepared

meals, and ready-to-drink (RTD)

beverages — plus one attractive

theme that cuts across catego-

ries: healthier diets.

Companies seeking to enter

the promising categories listed

above have two strategic options:

1) They can build their of-

ferings organically. In developed

markets, a number of startups

have entered these categories

and succeeded. However, build-

ing innovation capabilities with-

in established organizations can

be time-consuming and costly.

2) Alternatively, companies

can establish joint ventures with

international players to localize

some of these innovations and

get them onto store shelves in

the region. They can also invest

in successful startups abroad and

then help these firms expand in

the GCC. “Regional players are

seeking mergers and acquisitions

opportunities to expand their

portfolios and sustain growth,

but there is a lack of viable tar-

gets. Now it is possible for com-

panies in the sector to grow by

tapping into changes in the way

people spend money on food,

commented Ahmad Bakri, princi-

pal with Strategy&. For example,

Al Safi, a leading dairy company

in Saudi Arabia, partnered with

Danone in 2001 to form Al Safi

Danone. The new venture offers

a wide range of dairy and juice

products based on Danone’s

expertise and tailored for local

tastes. Today Al Safi Danone has

a leading position in the value-

added segment in dairy and is

the market maker in a number of

sub-categories, including drink-

ing yogurt, ready-to-eat desserts,

and beverages that combine fruit

juice and milk.

“The food and beverage

industry in the GCC is at an in-

flection point. By looking at

markets that are further along

in their economic development

and studying successful prod-

uct launches in those markets, it

is possible to identify the most

promising growth opportuni-

ties for the region over the next

five to 15 years. Those that want

to target these categories need

to understand consumer prefer-

ences in the region, quickly build

up the necessary innovation ca-

pabilities, and potentially partner

with established players in other

markets to leverage their exper-

tise,” added Karl Nader, Partner

with Strategy&.

— SG

Karl Nader

Ahmed Bakri


Their unique offers and ameni-

ties enrich and enliven the tour-

ism experience. Most of their

offers target families seeking

special moments as well as dis-

counts and fun activities for chil-


The Sharjah Summer cam-

paign is a project organized

by the Sharjah Commerce and

Tourist Development Author-

ity (SCTDA). The event, which

runs from June 27 to September

8, 2017, is being positioned as one

of the biggest events being orga-

nized in the emirate--featuring

many unique, quality activities

that promote family tourism and

boost Sharjah›s status as a spe-

cial tourist destination for all, in

particular, for the Arab Gulf re-

gion in all seasons. To date, there

are around 28 participants from

both the public and private sector

for the Sharjah Summer Initiative.

In addition, partners for the event

are composed of concerned gov-

ernment institutions, shopping

centers, travel agencies, airlines

and other private sector entities.

— SG