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DAMMAM: There’s a new Hypermarket in town! The bustling Al Rayyan District in Dammam rolled out a purple carpet on Wednesday as it opened its doors  to the newest LuLu Hypermarket branch. Housed within the new Al Rayyan Mall, the store was inaugurated by H.E. Bader Sulaiman Al Reziza, chairman of the board of directors, Al Sharqia Chamber, in the presence of LuLu group chairman and managing director, UAE-based Indian businessman Yusuff Ali Musaliam Veettil Abdul Kadeem, popularly known as YusuffAli M.A. 

“We are delighted with the expansion of our presence in Saudi Arabia,” said YusuffAli M.A., “The Kingdom represents a vibrant market powered by young energy and new vision, which we believe fits the LuLu template, too, as we grow and expand and bring new energy to the MENA retail market.”

Located in the busy Othman Ibn Affan Street, this marks the kingdom’s 26th store and the Group’s 224th branch globally. Founded in the early 1990s, LuLu has become a top retailer in the Middle East and one of the most successful businesses worldwide. 

The purple ribbon-cutting opening ceremony came after YusuffAli M.A. asked attendees to take a moment to bless the space with a prayer. The beautiful gesture brought calmness before the store opened to enthusiastic customers in the 1000,000 square feet store. The well-stocked supermarket has wall-to-wall fresh food selections, as well as the usual LuLu crowd-pleasers, such as the BLSH beauty counter, the fresh fish department, and LuLu Connect, the digital and electronics marketplace with the latest gadgets and brands. This store has an extensive Organic Foods counter, a colorful Salad Bar, and pay by plate international cuisine, made by LuLu’s in-house chefs—from fresh sushi to biryani and munchies to satisfy every craving. The store also features an impressive selection of produce which are labeled “proudly grown in the KSA” as part of the LuLu’s philosophy: ‘Eat Local’ and, of course, a wide variety of baked goods.

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Robert Fry, group bakery operations manager for LuLu, manages 230 bakeries across the nine countries LuLu thrives in; across the GCC to India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Egypt. He is most pleased about this newest addition to the LuLu family.

“I’ve been with the company now for 17 years, so when we started in Saudi, I opened the first store we had in Riyadh and then I’ve been opening more of the stores since. So to have another one here in Dammam is very exciting for me—one of my most favorite places to come,” Fry told Arab News. “We are launching new ranges here, we are launching sugar-free products, egg-free products, we are also going to be the first retailer in KSA to do egg-free doughnuts, that’s our next step forward,” he said. 

Fry said that they are changing most of their baked-goods recipes now, so that the muffins, for example, will still maintain the great flavor but will contain much less sugar. They are also offering keto options and healthier offerings so customers can be happier and healthier. 

“We are trying to get the local suppliers and local brands involved with this, as well. It’s very exciting here in KSA for us. This shop will be fresh every day. We want to keep that fresh concept, so the meat department, the fish department, everything will be focused on freshness. The fruit and vegetables, and especially in my department, everything is cleared out every night and we are fresh again every morning, and then we are ready to serve to the customers,” he said.

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Nothing will go to waste, however. Fry said that leftovers would be offered to the staff at the end of the night so they could take home to their families. The store also turns day-old bread into breadcrumbs and incorporates many of the products into their other goods, so nothing goes to the bin. 

Al-Rayyan District in Dammam rolled out a purple carpet on Wednesday as it opened its doors to the Kingdom’s newest LuLu Hypermarket branch. (Supplied)

While Fry’s personal favorite bakery item is the fresh croissants, he also praises the fresh-to-order manaeesh, slathered in labnah, zatar, or it’s many variations. For the upcoming holy month of Ramadan, Fry urges the community in Dammam to try the local sweets on offer. 

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“We have our range of Arabic sweets now and petit fours. We import some Arabic sweets now from Jordan and we have our own Arabic-sweet makers here, as well. So what we are trying to also do in bakeries such as this is to give that Arabic feeling again because sometimes we feel we have European products, we have western products, but here in KSA, we want to see focus on the local ranges. For bakery, it’s all about freshness and the fresher we can give to the customer, the happier we are. So that is what we try to aim for,” Fry said. 

The single-level store aims to offer easy access to all customers, with an escalator ramp suitable for strollers and amble car parking outside for convenient shopping. The store promises special promotions and deals on offer for the opening week to welcome shoppers

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