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Ex-Waitrose outlets set to reopen in Bahrain.

Two former Waitrose stores in Bahrain are reopening today as Jawad-branded supermarkets, less than two years after they were acquired by the upmarket UK retailer.

The stores at The Centre, Nuwaidrat, and Jawad Dome, Barbar, were originally bought by Waitrose from the Jawad Business Group (JBG) in 2012, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

The stores will reopen today as Jawad Supermarkets and a JBG spokesman said it was "excited" to be back.

"Jawad will bring back what was lost," said the spokesman yesterday.

"We are aiming for the same kind of customers (as Waitrose) and we have always strived for great quality at reasonable prices."

The spokesman revealed contractors had been working round the clock to refurbish the two former Waitrose supermarkets since JBG's announcement earlier this month that it would be reopening them.

"Since February 7 our team has been working day and night," the spokesman said. We are all very excited for the reopening."

Waitrose's Middle East partner Fine Fare Food Market (FFFM), which also operates Spinney's in Dubai, bought the Jawad stores in Nuwaidrat and Barbar outright in July 2012.

However, less than 18 months later the British supermarket chain announced in November 2013 that it would be pulling out of Bahrain due to poor sales.

FFFM's local operating company for the Waitrose brand, Supa Save Bahrain, went into liquidation last month leaving the fate of the six Waitrose outlets and an estimated 200 employees unknown.

Unconfirmed reports indicated that some former Waitrose staff had been offered jobs with JBG, but a question mark still hangs over outlets in Segaiya, Sr, Riffa and Amwaj Islands.

Nobody from the Salwa Ahmed Al Khalifa Law Firm, which was appointed as the liquidator, was available yesterday to comment on the fate of the four former Waitrose stores, the staff they employed or money owed by Supa Save Bahrain. - TradeArabia News Service

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Publication:TradeArabia (Manama, Bahrain)
Geographic Code:7BAHR
Date:Feb 24, 2014
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