Tesco, the British multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer, recently entered Pakistan, joining hands with Alpha Supermarket to bring a selection of Tesco products to the local market. Marylou Andrew speaks to Adnan Hamid, CEO, Limestone Private Ltd, the holding company for Alpha Supermarket, to find out more.
MARYLOU ANDREW: What made Tesco come to Pakistan at this point in time?
ADNAN HAMID: With a population of 220 million people, Tesco believes there is a huge potential in Pakistan; with a growth in the middle class there is increasing purchasing power. Besides Tesco there are other international players who are interested in the FMCG market.
MLA: Broadly speaking, which Tesco products will be available at Alpha?
AH: We have a big range of frozen food, ambient food and non-food products available at Alpha. For the last 25 years, the Pakistani market has been dependent on importers with no consistent supply chain with the result that sometimes the goods you like and need may not be available. With Tesco on board we are assured of a consistent supply of products and also we will be able to acquire any particular item that a customer needs from Tesco Pvt. Label.
MLA: What are the dynamics of the partnership between Tesco and Alpha?
AH: Alpha Supermarket has the exclusive rights from Tesco to sell their Private Label products in our supermarkets all across Pakistan.
"Pakistan is the fourth largest middle class population in developing Asia; our retail market size is $152 billion with 13% year-on-year growth."
MLA: Internationally Tesco is known as a value for money brand. Is the same going to be true in Pakistan given the exchange rate?
AH: There are three categories of Tesco products: Tesco Finest, Tesco Better and Tesco Everyday. Finest being high-end and priced accordingly and Everyday at the most affordable price for the mid mass market. An example of this is products we use everyday such as toothpaste or fabric conditioners or toilet cleaners etc. This is evident in our pricing, do visit us and see for yourself.
MLA: How does Tesco view the scope and size of the retail opportunity in Pakistan and is it likely to expand its operations in this country?
AH: Pakistan’s total population is 220 million out of which 36% is urban – we are the fourth largest middle class population in developing Asia; our retail market size is $152 billion with 13% year-on-year growth; this should answer the question why Tesco is interested in Pakistan. Alpha Supermarket plans to open three more flagship stores – one in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad besides 50 Express stores in targeted areas over the next three years that will carry Tesco Private Label products.