UAE – Majid Al Futtaim, which operates the Carrefour brand in markets across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, has reported a 74% net profit increase in the first half of 2023 to AED 1.7 billion (US$463m), driven by the success of recent initiatives to drive operational efficiency and profitability.

The Dubai-based retail conglomerate had a 5% rise in revenue to AED18.9 billion with an EBITDA growth of 13% to AED 2.1 billion.

On a reported basis, revenue in the Majid Al Futtaim – Retail division declined by 2% to AED 14.1 billion, due to currency devaluations across its regional footprint.

Majid Al Futtaim owns 29 shopping malls in five countries, including the UAE and Egypt, and operates a portfolio of over 460 outlets.

Over the same period, Majid Al Futtaim opened five new stores across the region, including two further Supeco low-cost, hybrid concept stores in Egypt. It also owns cinemas, leisure brands, retail fashion stores, properties, and hotels.

The group said in a statement that its online retail business has continued to gain traction, recording a 13% increase in revenue to AED 1.2 billion in the first half of the year.

Looking ahead, the company’s CEO, Ahmed Jalal Ismail noted: “The group will continue to evolve, anchoring strategic choices in value-creation that support the evolving needs of our customers, colleagues, and communities across the region.”

Performance was primarily driven by UAE-based shopping malls and Tilal Al Ghaf residential real estate development.

In retail, we continue to see opportunities for physical retail expansion. Digital demand for our omnichannel offers continues to be quite robust. Entertainment is firing on all cylinders and our offer of cinemas and family entertainment continues to be well received,” Ismail stated in an interview with Bloomberg.

Ismail added that the Group views Saudi Arabia as a thriving market for future expansion driven by the Kingdom’s resilience against global economic challenges.

In March, the group retrenched 105 workers out of its total staff of 46,000 as part of an effort to boost returns.

MAF appointed long-time insider Ahmed Galal Ismail as chief executive in January, replacing Bejjani after eight years in the role, in a shake-up more than a year after the company’s founder died. MAF gave no reason for the leadership change.

Three sources familiar with the job cut developments said it was part of a restructuring following the abrupt removal of former chief executive Alain Bejjani in January.

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