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How to open a grocery shop in Dubai

Dubai is home to a large and growing population, hailing from every corner of the world. These three-million-plus residents from hundreds of countries have different needs and wants when it comes to clothes, cars, tech, food and almost everything else.

That’s one of several reasons why the grocery market is incredibly diverse. And with so much varying demand, there’s always room for more competition. So, if you want to know what it takes to start a grocery shop in Dubai, keep reading to find out:

• Benefits of opening a grocery shop in Dubai, UAE
• Steps to open a grocery shop in Dubai, UAE
• How much is it to open a grocery store in Dubai?
• Things to remember before opening a grocery store
• Why choose Creative Zone?

Benefits of opening a grocery shop in Dubai, UAE

Dubai’s huge and varied demand is one of the major benefits of starting a grocery store out here. The emirate’s international and multicultural population has an understandable appetite for world foods, and in many cases, they are happy to pay a premium when they find it.

Such is the scale of opportunity that the food and grocery retail market produced revenues of over USD 30bn in recent years. By 2025, the sector is expected to see growth at a CAGR of almost 5%.

On top of this, there are many benefits to starting any trading business in Dubai. The UAE is well connected to all major markets via land, sea and air, making it prime for import and export. It also has a potentially game-changing 0% tax rate on both corporate and personal income.

Steps to open a grocery shop in Dubai, UAE

The first step before embarking on the UAE company formation process is to seek advice from a local business expert. The team at Creative Zone can guide you through the whole process. After a short consultation, we’ll manage the following steps on your behalf.

Step 1: Registering your company name
Before anything else, we’ll help you choose a name for your grocery store. During this process, you will need to comply with the local naming conventions.

In short, you must avoid any words that could be considered offensive or blasphemous. You will also need to ensure that your chosen name is not similar to any other existing businesses or institutions.

As a final step, we will check that your chosen name is available before registering it for you. To avoid disappointment, it is always a good idea to suggest a few options in case your first choice is already in use.

Step 2: Acquiring a business licence
With your name chosen, you can apply for your grocery store license. The length and steps involved in this process depend on whether you plan to set up in the mainland or a free zone. The team at Creative Zone can help you decide the best option for your business.

Mainland licenses are issued by the Dubai Department of Economic Development, whereas free zone license applications should be made to the relevant managing authority. In either case, we can manage the process on your behalf.

Step 3: Applying for a visa
You will need a visa to live and work in the UAE. There are a few more steps to this process than when obtaining a license. But once again, Creative Zone can guide you through every stage.

As part of your application, you will need to undergo a medical, fitness test, blood test and chest X-ray.

As a holder of a UAE trade licence, you can sponsor others for their applications, too. This could be your spouse or dependent children, as well as domestic staff such as a maid or driver.

Step 4: Opening a corporate bank account
Finally, you will need a corporate bank account before you can start making and taking payments in the UAE.

While this is not always a fast and straightforward process for non-GCC citizens, Creative Zone can help to reduce much of the hassle. Once we have discussed your specific banking requirements, we will advise on the local or international bank most suited to your needs.

How much is it to open a grocery store in Dubai?

A license to operate a grocery store in Dubai starts at just AED 13,800. However, there is much more to account for on top of this.

You will also need to consider the cost of visas, premises, staffing, equipment and any additional permits that may be required to trade.

For a full and personalised breakdown of the costs involved in starting a business out here, get in touch with the team at Creative Zone.

Things to remember before opening a grocery store

There are several things to keep in mind before you launch your grocery store in the UAE.

There are many start-up costs to consider when opening a grocery anywhere in the world. While several are unavoidable, such as stock and premises, others are optional. So, before you start out, it’s best to clearly lay out your available capital, as this will help determine realistic objectives for your new store and stop you from overstretching in the all-important early days.

The location of your grocery store will have a direct impact on revenues. Demand, footfall, buying habits and more will differ from place to place, so be sure to do your research before committing to a lease.

You should also consider competition at this stage. You may be more likely to succeed by setting up in an area currently unserved by your kind of offering. However, it can sometimes be beneficial to set up near the competition, as potential customers are likely already in the area.

Stock levels are vital. There are few more sure-fire ways to disappoint a customer than by being out of stock of a key product when they have made the effort to travel to your store.

There are several tools that can help you with this. But the most important thing is understanding your customers and their buying patterns, so you always have what they need.

Large supermarkets make considerable outlay designing the layout of their stores in a way most likely to increase sales. While you do not have to compete with these costs, you should take the time to understand how your customers move while in the store.

Make items as easy to find as possible and flow in a logical order. You should consider aesthetics, fixtures and fittings, too. You want to create an enjoyable in-store experience so that customers want to come back.

The best-looking and most well-stocked store in the UAE will count for little if your audience does not know where it is. So, unless you are setting up right in the middle of a busy shopping area, you will need to go to your potential customers and make an impression.

These days, there are many simple and relatively inexpensive ways of doing this, such as social media marketing and online ads. You could also use introductory offers, promotions and discounts in the early stages to help you stand out from the competition.

Why choose Creative Zone?

The Creative Zone team are experts in business setup in Dubai. So, if you’re looking to start a grocery store, or indeed any other business out here, we can help.

Our international team are on hand to guide you through every step of the company formation process to ensure it is both fast and incredibly straightforward. We’ll liaise with all government departments and other authorities, so you can focus on getting ready to trade.

Find out more about what Creative Zone can do for you, and get a bespoke quote today.

Prices offered by free zones are subject to change without notice. Please get in touch with Creative Zone for an updated price based on the current promotions and availability.

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