By GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN | ARAB NEWS STAFF
RIYADH: Sir Tom Phillips, British ambassador, inaugurated the “British Week”, a major British food festival, at the Lulu Hypermarket in the Saudi capital yesterday. The “British Week”, organized by Lulu Hypermarkets in Riyadh and Dammam in cooperation with the local embassy of the United Kingdom, showcases more than 3,000 exclusively imported British products for the first time in the Kingdom under one roof and on promotional prices.
In Alkhobar, the British Week was opened by David Harries, head of British Trade Office yesterday with great fanfare. After formally cutting the ribbon to mark the opening of the British Week in the Saudi capital, Ambassador Phillips expressed his appreciation at the hypermarket’s initiative in holding a food festival that highlights the high quality and rich diversity of food products from the UK. Phillips, who took a round of the hypermarket after formally opening the festival, said that Lulu Hypermarket was introducing and popularizing some of the best British products to the local market.
In addition, the festival is allows the large number of Saudis and expatriates, who regularly visit the UK, to enjoy in the Kingdom some of the great food products of Britain. The inaugural ceremony was attended by a large number of guests including British diplomats and top Lulu executives. Shehim Mohammed Unni, Lulu’s regional director; Peter Broom, deputy director for UK Trade & Investment (UKTI); and Promilla Caughey, UKTI marketing manager were present together with a number of newsmen and photographers. In Alkhobar, Harries was welcomed by Abdul Basheer, Lulu’s regional director at the hypermarket.
Asked about the move by London to promote its food products in high-growth markets like Saudi Arabia, the British envoy said: “I am delighted to have relationship with Lulu, which is looking at opening a logistics center in the UK. “This is real opportunity to celebrate the partnership,” said Phillips, adding that there is a large British community in Riyadh. “Saudi Arabia is a priority market for the UK,” added the ambassador, while giving the highlights of the Saudi-UK relations in the field of culture.
Speaking on this occasion in Riyadh, Shehim said that “the UK is an important and growing market for us. The new distribution center called “Lulu Sourcing and Logistics Center”, to be opened in the UK, will be an integral part of commitment to Britain, from where Lulu Hypermarkets of the Gulf have been importing products worth 24 million pounds annually. The Lulu’s center will be located in Birmingham, the second most populous city in the UK, which is also a major international commercial city.
Shehim pointed out that the British Week offers the best fine food products from the UK. With a wide variety of products including Gluten free products, organic products, free range eggs, fresh breads, goats milk and yogurts, diabetic products, flavored yogurts, chocolates, fresh fruits & vegetables, pies & cakes, canned foods, gift food, bakery, cheese, cooked and cured meats, the British Week at the two Lulu stores is a highly recommended festival for every one to go and experience, he added.
“The prime focus of British Week is to portray Lulu Hypermarkets as a unique shopping experience for its customers,” he added. Given the cosmopolitan clientele and culture of Lulu, “British Week” campaign will offer a lot to the customers on this occasion. During this promotion period, Lulu outlets in Riyadh and Alkhobar have been decorated with huge and colorful replicas of the famous landmarks and icons associated with Britain. As part of this event, free tickets would be handed over to lucky winners of a raffle draw to attend the Summer Olympics 2012 to be held in Britain.
This British festival is the first of its kind being organized by a hypermarket in the Saudi capital city. Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom have long been close allies, and the breadth and depth of Britain’s relationship with the Kingdom continues to increase. On commercial front, the two-way trade between the two Kingdoms continues to grow. Commercial partnerships are flourishing and UK visible and invisible exports are valued at more than $6 billion. Saudi Arabia remains by far the UK’s largest market for go