Bidding 'war' for closed Waitrose outlets
Manama, January 23, 2014
A bidding war is underway for six former Waitrose outlets in Bahrain after the supermarket's regional partner announced it was going into liquidation.
Supa Save Bahrain, which ran the country's Waitrose shops under franchise, revealed on Tuesday that it would cease trading with immediate effect, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
The move forced the four remaining stores at Nuwaidrat, Barbar, Segaiya and Saar to close their doors.
The other outlets in Amwaj Islands and Riffa had already shut when the GDN reported last November that Waitrose was pulling out of Bahrain, with a spokeswoman blaming poor sales for the move.
Midway Food chief executive Khalid Al Amin said his company was looking to take over the store in Saar, adding it was "no secret" that Geant and Jawad were also bidding for the former Waitrose outlets.
"It really broke my heart when I heard that Waitrose were leaving, I wanted them to stay," he told the GDN.
"I shop in Waitrose in London and I feel it's a wonderful place. It's a big name, a strong English brand and we wanted them here in Bahrain.
"I would have loved for them to stay in business and grow. But life is life and business is business."
A senior businessman, who did not want to be named, said Waitrose's exit from Bahrain would have a knock-on effect on companies it owed money.
"This is an example of a foreign entity coming to Bahrain going bust and leaving a trail of destruction behind them that local companies are left with," he said.
"I'm sure a lot of smaller Bahraini businesses are less able to suffer the financial consequences than we are."
A spokeswoman for the Jawad Business Group told the GDN she could not reveal any information about the deal for the vacant stores.
No one from Geant or the liquidators, Salwa Ahmed Al Khalifa Law Firm, could be reached for comment yesterday. - TradeArabia News Service