Spectacular shopping experience on the Arabian Peninsula (UAE)

Wanzl joins forces with Aichinger to create Sharjah Cooperative hypermarket in the newly opened Rahmania Mall

The Rahmania Mall was opened in the Emirate of Sharjah (United Arab Emirates) in mid-March 2021. The new shopping centre comprises more than 70 commercial retail units consisting of stores, entertainment facilities, restaurants, cafes and event spaces. It covers 60,000 square metres and was built for 400 million dirham (around 91.5 million euros) to become the first port of call for a first-class shopping experience in Sharjah – both for local and international visitors. One of the mall’s key features is the Sharjah Cooperative’s first hypermarket in Rahmania. As a complete solution provider, shopfitting expert Wanzl planned and realised this impressive hypermarket in cooperation with Aichinger, among others. With a retail area of 7,200 square metres, the store offers almost everything shoppers could want. His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Board of Governors and ruler of Sharjah, inaugurated the store. Sheikh Sultan began his tour of the shopping centre by visiting the Sharjah Cooperative hypermarket, which is the first Sharjah Cooperative hypermarket in the area.

“Sharjah Cooperative is an existing customer of Wanzl Middle East and we presented our ideas for the hypermarket as part of an invitation to tender in order not only to design, but also to hand over the project completely turnkey – including construction work, mechanics, electrics and sanitation, shelves, service counters, lighting, checkout counters, shopping trolleys, shopping baskets, signage and graphics as well as order picking trolleys. We won the project due to our creative design, expertise and approach to the project,” explains Mohit Ahuja, General Manager Wanzl Middle East FZE. 

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This flagship project in the new mall took six months to plan and design, followed by ten months of implementation. The customer experience is the key to Wanzl’s design concept, which characterises the main areas of the store with product-specific design themes. This creates a unique atmosphere that piques customers’ interest. In line with this approach, the lighting concept is based on separating different areas using different CCT (Correlated Colour Temperature) and lighting levels. The signs for the product areas are written in Arabic and English. Ahuja summarises the idea behind the design concept as follows: “For many customers in this region, the main reason for shopping in a brick-and-mortar store is to see and experience the products in person while enjoying the pleasant and appealing ambience of the store environment.”

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Versatile product range with eye-catching design

The fresh food section of the hypermarket, with local and international delicacies, is particularly striking thanks to its size of over 1,000 square metres and the unique product range. As the general contractor, Wanzl took the lead in the design and relied on the expertise of its premium partner Aichinger for its fresh-food counters. Aichinger, the specialist for self-service and staffed refrigerated cabinets and counters, primarily used its innovative products TopSpot MIO+, SIRIUS®3 and MaxxPoint, the hot counter HotMaxx and the service counter CoolMaxx. A clear colour scheme and creative design elements characterise the individual sections and thus facilitate orientation.

Versatile product range with eye-catching design

With its rich red tones, the meat department stands out with large images of the goods on offer presented on elegant wooden decor. The white 3D lettering “Butchery” appears in the middle of a stylised meat cleaver mounted on a background of black bricks. Products are presented in eye-catching display cabinets and counters stretching over a remarkable length of 17.40 metres. This area adjoins the cheese & deli department. In addition to cheese, customers will also find delicatessen products and fresh cold cuts there. The meandering arrangement of the counter line encourages shoppers to stay longer in the fresh food area and supports impulse buys, while the semicircular elements integrated in the line of counters draw particular attention to special offers and deals. Alternating between self-service shelving and service counters makes it possible to react flexibly to customer footfall, while still being able to offer fresh goods at all times.

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Blue tones as the main design colour point towards the fish market, with maritime accents such as anchors, nets, lifebelts and a maritime planking design as the background for the fish department signage. A large selection of fresh fish is optimally presented on ice, and sushi is also available. Shoppers can also purchase lobsters directly from the tank. Opposite the fresh food section, the live cooking stations and grill stations invite you to linger on bar stools in a circular island arrangement. Pizzas, pasta, salads and local Arabic cuisine such as shawarma are offered in a semi-circle for consumption on site or to take away, as well as freshly prepared barbecue specialities made from fish, poultry and beef. In the vegetable department, customers immediately notice the blue truck and the smaller brown market carts, fully loaded with fruit and vegetables. Customers feel like they are at a town market where the most delicious goods are traded fresh from the harvest every day. The bakery also attracts visitors with fresh crepes, French-style waffles and sweet Arabian delicacies such as baklava from the patisserie.

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The hypermarket also has the ideal port of call for lovers of vegetables and salads with an appetite: A separate salad bar where customers can put together individual salads, and even add a delicious smoothie if they like. Strong green tones on the bar with grasses beneath the counters and ivy trailing above the station give the customer an impression of the naturalness of the goods on offer. Anyone looking for even more healthy food is sure to find something in the wide selection of products in the organic department next door. This section of the hypermarket also has its own hydroponic system in which all kinds of cultivated plants are grown and thrive in water-filled containers. 

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One of the hypermarket’s design highlights is the display of olives, pickled vegetables and olive oil on a round presentation stand shaped like a large turntable for spices. An impressive olive tree rises majestically in the middle. A tribute to local customs: before meals or on special occasions, hosts like to offer specialities with olives and pickled vegetables. Things get really colourful in the confectionery department. Shelves and ceiling sails in bright colours and images of sweets make one thing clear: this is paradise for candy lovers. The children’s toy department is a real magnet. Colourful trains and even a famous London double-decker bus display toys, books and much more. Children in particular can immerse themselves in a fascinating world full of fun and play.

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Complete solution from Wanzl

The spectacular hypermarket in Rahmania Mall is not the first collaboration between Wanzl and Sharja Cooperative. As such, Sharja Coop had a great deal of trust in Wanzl as a complete solution provider, who handed over the project ready-for-use. In addition to the design concept, Wanzl’s various retail systems also won over the client, especially the Wire tech 100, which impresses visually with its simple elegance and directs the customer’s focus to what is important: the produce. Assembly was also quick and tool-free thanks to the click connection between the shelves and brackets. Wanzl also commissioned local carpenters for the shelf finishings. What’s more, it is the first store for Sharjah Cooperative to be equipped with electronic shelf labels. As an alternative to paper labels, ESL labels can be used to adjust prices more quickly and thus draw better attention to special offers, for example. Most of the equipment was sourced directly from the United Arab Emirates, partly due to coronavirus. The pandemic presented Wanzl with some challenges, but it managed to overcome them all. Ahuja explains: “The store was built during the COVID-19 pandemic. We were only allowed to have a limited number of people in the store, and we always had to check for fever and symptoms with several control measures. In addition, one of the biggest challenges was the timely delivery of items with a long lead time, as factories and offices were closed. But in the end we managed to organise and coordinate everything successfully.”
The finished store is impressive. “We are very happy with the great working relationship with Sharjah Cooperative. It is a flagship project for us with a unique design concept,” says Ahuja.

We would always choose Wanzl, simply because we know that we will get quality and great service. That is why we opted for a turnkey handover. The result speaks for itself and we are delighted to offer customers a special shopping experience with our wide range of products, freshly harvested produce and an impressive design.
Das Operations Team der Sharjah Cooperative