Dubai, UAE, May 30, 2021 – Reflecting the success of its enhanced focus on e-commerce business in the wake of the pandemic, BFL (Brands for Less) Group recorded a 56 percent growth in its online sales during the first four months of 2021, compared to 38 percent in the same period in 2020. The mentioned figure adds to the group’s momentum following its positive growth in revenue last year, which translates to an annual increase of 38 percent.
Despite the COVID-19-induced slowdown in market activity, BFL Group has accelerated its expansion plans for 2021, starting with introducing the Spanish brand Muy Mucho in the Middle East following a franchise acquisition.
Nevertheless, when customers began to turn to online shopping after the outbreak of COVID-19, BFL Group seized the opportunity to ramp up investments in e-commerce activities to fuel the brand’s next growth phase, marked by their accelerated digital transformation in terms of technology and robotics throughout the last 12 months.
The group’s investment in e-commerce has reached to AED 44 million (USD 12 million) in 2020, bolstering its digital transformation efforts which were initiated even before the pandemic began. The company also partnered with IQ Robotics to install over 160 robots to help it boost processing of 150,000 items every day and record faster turnaround times.
BFL Group is currently developing a fulfilment center dedicated solely for its online orders to further support its e-commerce business and to keep pace with the rising demand from online customers. The new facility is set to further drive the company’s revenue and online business growth. The state-of-the-art e-commerce fulfilment facility is being built on more than 30,000 sqm of land to be launched by the end of H1 as BFL Group prepares to go global.
Yasser Beydoun, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of BFL Group, said: “The pandemic brought forth new realities to almost every aspect of our personal and professional lives. We had no other choice but to navigate this new normal and adjust ourselves to these changes and realign our strategies. The same is applied to our business goals after the pandemic struck, and instead of giving in to all the doom and gloom around, we saw it as an excellent opportunity to turn our attention to online sales.”
“Of course, it called for new equipment and new strategies in the beginning but today we stand well equipped to address the demands of our consumers – both remotely and in stores as well. No doubt COVID-19 has changed consumer behavior and we remain prepared to keep up with the changing market sentiment and are flexible in our approach to driving business growth,” Beydoun concluded.
The group launched more than 12 stores in the UAE during 2020 and is set to launch more than 10 stores in the country as part of its 2021 expansion plan. Out of the 10 upcoming stores in the UAE, five are in Dubai, three in Abu Dhabi, one in Sharjah, and one in Ras Al Khaimah. Beyond the UAE. BFL Group has also started exploring new markets such as Kuwait and Oman and will launch new outlets in the mentioned countries soon. Furthermore, the group will expand its presence in Malta with the addition of four branches by the end of 2021. The success of its expansion measures confirms that this year is indeed a year of exceptional growth for the group.
These timely efforts by BFL Group complemented the UAE’s e-commerce boom since 2020. According to research, the e-commerce sector in Middle East, Africa, and South Asia regions is predicted to grow by USD 148.5 billion by 2022. The Arabian Gulf region alone saw a 214 per cent year-on-year increase in cross-border online sales by mid-2020.
Leading the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in terms of household spending on e-commerce is the UAE at USD 2,554 per household — twice the global average and four times the MENA average. Given these figures, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry expects the UAE to grow its retail sales to USD 58 billion, a 13 percent increase by the end of 2021.