British retail brand plans hub in Oman

By Conrad Prabhu
Muscat, July 25, 2020
In a major boost for Oman’s aspirations to position itself as an international logistics hub, the world-renowned UK based multi-brand, multi-channel retailer Sainsbury’s is preparing to establish a new operations hub at Suhar on the Sultanate’s Sea of Oman coast
The announcement was made by Sohar Port and Freezone, the country’s principal integrated commercial gateway, industrial port and free zone development.
“We are pleased to announce that Sainsbury’s has set up operations at our Freezone under the company, International Distribution Network (IDN). The reputable UK retail store brand has over 1,400 stores, launching over 12,000 FMCG products in the MEA region,” Sohar Port said in tweet on Thursday.
Snagging an iconic retail name such as Sainbury’s is a triumph for Sohar Port’s, and indeed Oman’s, efforts to woo global players to the Sultanate. Other well-known brands are expected to follow suit, eager to capitalise on the geographical advantages, as well as the country’s well-developed transport and logistics infrastructure, to grow their presence in the wider region.
Sainbury’s, the UK’s largest, has over 12,000 products distributed through over 600 supermarkets and 820 convenience stores, in addition to digital channels that handle nearly 250,000 online orders every week. Annual revenues are in the order of 34.2 billion pounds sterling (approximately RO 16 billion).
Through the operations hub of International Distribution Network (IDN) set up in Suhar, Sainbury’s now has access to potential markets encompassing the Middle East and Africa (MEA), which is home to nearly 1.4 billion people. From this hub, IDN says it can supply and reach Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan, Egypt and Pakistan, besides Oman.
“International Distribution Network (IDN) is a multi-solution brand-building platform with roots in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe. We specialise in fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) in food and non-food categories,” said IDN on its website.
“Our extensive sourcing network from United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium, Spain, Australia, India, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, New Zealand, South Africa, Vietnam, Malaysia and USA makes us unique and proficient,” it stated.