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International: Postcards from 
Marrakech

Costcutter supermarket in MoroccoThe 3,000sq ft store is in the Mhamid district a conurbation of about 20,000 people cut off from the centre of Marrakech by the city’s airport. It’s a neighbourhood supermarket aimed at local people, not tourists

Energy costs are relatively high in Morocco, but the store still has 12 metres of chilled food in the first aisle. More than 6,000 lines are stocked, sourced from 131 local suppliers. There is no alcohol or tobacco for the time being at least. You need to obtain a specific licence to sell tobacco in Morocco

Fruit and veg is displayed and sold outside the store. Mint is a vital ingredient to make Moroccan tea

Delicious local breads and pastries are sold from a dedicated area inside the door

Fresh meat prepared by a local butcher is one of the most popular items

Big health & beauty manufacturers such as Procter & Gamble have visited the store to help with range and merchandising, but in most other categories the planograms are home-grown

Vegetable display in Costcutter MarrakechMajor brands are stocked, but supplied by local agents

The store has full scanning epos and CCTV, with a local software engineer working full time

The hot climate means that chocolate is not a major seller, so just a small range is stocked

The enthusiastic staff team were mainly hand-picked from other stores in the city. Many received a pay rise to encourage them to switch

The store is expected to turn over 30,000dh (about £2,500) a day, but sales have already exceeded expectations even without advertising. A leaflet with a single special offer on fresh beef was produced for the opening weekend

Opening hours are 7.30am until 11pm, seven days a week, but peak hours are 4pm onwards as the heat means that local households prepare food and eat later than in Europe. During the evenings, access is restricted to prevent overcrowding

Fresh meat prepared by a local butcher is one of the most popular itemsLocal dancers and musicians helped the official opening go with a swing

Miss Universe Great Britain, Chloe-Beth Morgan, was a popular VIP guest at the opening ceremony

Sunstar group director Najib Khan (third left) paid tribute to the support he got from friends and colleagues, including Costcutter founder Colin Graves (second right). He says: “Thanks to Colin for letting me use the brand. I knew that if things went wrong he’d be there to help me.” Colin replies: “He’s always done it well before!”

The store was two years in the planning. It was originally meant to open in June this year, but it was September before it was finally ready. “The biggest issue was the language barrier,” says Najib. Plans for the second and third stores are already in the pipeline



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