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Saudi Savola to Double Panda Chain on Rivalry | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s Savola Group said it plans to more that double its network of Azizia Panda supermarkets to 130 by 2010 as it faces rising competition from rivals including France’s Carrefour.

The company, which operates the kingdom’s largest supermarket chain, will add stores in cities such as Tabuk in the west and Jubail on east where it does it does not have outlets now, Muhammad Amin Kashgari, Savola’s president of retail and real estate, told Reuters on Monday.

Savola owns about 60 Panda stores and malls, and plans to open five more this year, Kashgari said.

Rivalry in the industry is growing as supermarket group Carrefour and Geant Casino expand in the Arab world’s largest economy.

“We want to increase the volume of our sales to help improve the net margin,” Kashgari said.

Savola is considering selling shares in Azizia to the public in an initial public offering after 2010, Kashgari said.