In a new retail end user primary research conducted between January and April 2011, we assessed MEA retail IT directions in great detail. During the analysis of the survey findings we were astonished in seeing such a dynamic market in MEA, which we are sure many IT vendors will not want to miss!

Store expansion is a key objective for retailers that are operating in Middle East and Africa. Generally speaking retailers are expanding their presence via organic growth (for example, Landmark Group in the UAE, Burger King in Qatar, Mark & Spencer in Dubai, and House of Fraser and Waitrose in Abu Dhabi) and M&A or joint-ventures (Italian fashion house Prada will open new stores across the Middle East region as part of a joint venture with Al Tayer Insignia). And new store openings are mirrored, in many counrtioes across the region, by strong revenue growth in the industry. For example, in South Africa an increase of retail trade sales (at current price) was reported: +7.0% year-over-year (March 2011 on March 2010).

On the other hand rising inflation may pose new challenges. As a matter of fact many governments are adopting new measures to minimize potential damages: for example in the UAE, where the Minister of Economy has urged retailers to launch practical initiatives to reduce prices and support market stability.

But on the back of extended operations and store presence, retailers will also spend huge efforts on enhancing supply chain efficiencies and merchandise planning capabilities.

Our research provides answers to some key questions, to mention just a few:

  • What are MEA retailers business priorities?
  • What are the hottest areas of IT investment?
  • What IT challenges MEA retailers are facing?
  • Will adoption of eCommerce and self-checkouts ramp-up significantly during 2011?

Stay tuned for the full report which will be available by the end of May.

Meanwhile, we'd love to hear your questions or comments that relate to the MEA retail sector.