The move is the latest in a series of expensive infrastructure projects, including the ongoing construction of a AED70m (US$19m) food manufacturing plant at Dubai Investment Park, and a AED180m (US$49m) office, logistics and cold-storage headquarters at the same location.
The factory, which will produce packaged water and process spices and pulses, will occupy 100,000sq-ft, while the logistics complex will weigh in at 500,000sq-ft.
The new outlets will be built in Bur Dubai, Dubai Waterfront, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE; Jeddah Haramain and Al Safa in Saudi Arabia; and Thrissur in India in the next few months.
“We are reinforcing our network firmly to the modern, customer-centric retail landscape of the region. We are currently on a vast expansion mode looking for a wider market segment in the GCC and India,” said Moosa Haji, the group’s chairman.
The new retail outlets will focus on selling products that are in demand among the Gulf’s expat population, said managing director Sulaiman Haji.
"This gives us the encouragement to look for a wider market segment. We continue to look at further expanding our reach in the UAE and the GCC," he added, claiming that the company’s emphasis on sourcing products internationally through a strong logistics structure has provided the means for expansion.
The company’s journey has been a long one by UAE standards. It began in 1968 as a neighbourhood store on Abu Dhabi’s old Airport Road, and has since grown to comprise 22 business divisions with 36 retail outlets and over 3,000 staff. It recently tied up with European chain Continente to open branches in the Gulf.
Other operations include flour mills, meat and frozen foods manufacturing under the Fairway brand, Mr Cook Spices and Pulses, Palm Spring Pure Drinking Water, Al Gazal Automatic Bakery and a chain of restaurants and coffee shops under franchise agreements.
The Fathima Group now comprises 18 companies, with an annual sales turnover of AED1.5bn (US$410m), which Musa Haji expects to grow to AED2bn following the announced store expansions.