Qatar flag Qatar: Buying and Selling

The distribution network in Qatar

Evolution of the Sector
According to Alpen Capital, the Qatari retail market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.8% reaching $284.5 billion in 2018, the fastest in the Gulf Cooperation Council region. The government has ambitious plans to develop its retail landscape to meet the rising demand of the growing population’s high level of personal consumption. Key projects already underway include the Mall of Qatar, Doha Festival City and Place Vendome.

The continued low oil price means the Qatari Government is seeing its state revenues decline. As such, the country is actively seeking foreign and private sector investment, in order to better respond to this factor. The development of the retail sector will help to shore up its economy and presents excellent opportunities for foreign investors, especially in the luxury retail. In 2015, the country was ranked as the fourth most attractive retail market according to the Global Retail Development Index (GRDI), placing it first in the Middle East.

Recent government initiatives have already helped to pique investment interest among foreign companies. Plans to pass a law to introduce the use of public-private partnerships (PPPs) by the end of 2016 is believed to be a positive move which will likely attract further foreign investment. PPPs are seen as a feasible alternative to more traditional procurement models and will allow private investors to take stakes in projects along with the government, bearing part of the risk and sharing profits.

Qatar’s rapidly growing population, coupled with its strong purchasing power per capita are strong fundamentals driving the growth of the retail sector. The country’s affinity for luxury goods has already triggered entry plans by high-end retailers, and we expect more brands will follow suit given an additional one million square metres of retail space is scheduled to be added in Doha in the coming years. Foreign investors definitely stand to gain from Qatar’s burgeoning retail market.
Market share
The Government of Qatar is the biggest end-user of a wide range of products and services. The government procurement process is based on standard tender procedures.  A foreign supplier wishing to participate in government tenders may appoint a local commercial agent.
According to Euromonitor, private supermarkets account for the vast majority of retail sales, and this sector is currently expanding. In this way, the main players are:

  • Carrefour with both hypermarkets and supermarkets (Carrefour market) in most of the shopping malls (City Center, Villagio, Ezden Mall, Lagoona Mall, Salam Mall)
  • Lulu Hypermarket with big stores and a good electronic appliance mix of products
  • Mega Mart with a large assortment of imported products
  • Monoprix with a large range of food products (50% of the store) and cosmetics products.
  • Al Meera Group in a partnership with the french Géant

According to the International Trade Administration, the following distribution channel was in place in 2020: the importer/agent sells to private supermarkets (60%), cooperatives (20%), institutional users (10%) and wholesalers and convenience stores (5%).

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Latest Update: March 2024

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