Auchan opens first Tajik hypermarket in ‘revolution’ for food security

France’s  international retail group Auchan yesterday opened the very first Tajik hypermarket – and the company’s  first in Central Asia – in Dushanbe with an inauguration ceremony attended by the country’s President Emomali Rakhmon. The 5,000 m² outlet has been developed with a €5m loan from the EBRD  and is to be operated by Schiever Group subsidiary Schiever Tajikistan through a franchise agreement.
“This … represents a revolution for Tajikistan,” Schiever Tajikistan’s General Manager Frédéric Lobbé said. “Auchan hypermarket will be a popular store for everyone, offering a large choice of quality products at affordable prices. It is going to improve the country’s food security.”
While the  majority of food items on sale will initially be imported from Auchan’s network of suppliers in Russia, in the long term Schiever plans – with help from the EBRD’s agribusiness advisory services – to develop links with Tajik farmers to source more and more products locally and work on the possibility of exporting Tajik agricultural products to Russia.
 “This is a hugely important project,” said Richard Jones, Director, Head of EBRD operations in Tajikistan, speaking at the opening. “Offering quality products at discount prices, Auchan has already struck contracts with more than 200 local suppliers, setting the foundations for a new stage in the development of agri-food value chains and exports. The determination of Schiever’s management to take this ground-breaking project beyond today’s opening offers a powerful demonstration of the positive impact of foreign investment: setting new industry standards, enhancing transparency, creating some 400 jobs and bringing direct benefits to consumers.”