Shop until you drop! Seychelles’ first hypermarket to open soon
The Bois de Rose Complex, home to Seychelles' first hypermarket (Joena Bonnelame, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Shopping in the Seychelles islands will never be the same again, as the country’s first hypermarket is set to open on October 2 on the eastern outskirts of the capital of Victoria.
The 3480 square metre hypermarket is owned by the Seychelles Trading Company (STC), a state-owned enterprise which is one of the major importers, wholesalers and retailers of the islands. The hypermarket is housed on the ground floor of the 8,000 square metre Bois de Rose Complex.
The complex itself is owned by the Seychelles government and managed by Société Seychelloise d’Investissement (SSI), which oversees its commercial interests.
SSI has invested some $12.3 million to build the Bois de Rose Complex.
Apart from the hypermarket, the complex has 15 other commercial outlets, mainly emerging small and medium size enterprises as well as banks and telecoms providers.
The island nation in the western Indian Ocean has a population of 90,000 and such a project has attracted a lot of attention in the business community.
“We were discussing about whether we would keep the name hypermarket or not, but we are doing this for Seychelles. At several occasions when I spoke to suppliers they would be astonished of having a hypermarket for the size of our population. For Seychelles, for our population it is a hypermarket,” said Veronique Laporte, CEO of STC during a press conference on Thursday.
|STC staff prepare for the opening of the new hypermarket, adding new goods to the shelves.(Joena Bonnelame, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
The hypermarket will be three and a half times larger than the existing main STC Victoria supermarket and is expected to offer customers more convenience due its size and large parking facilities.
“This means that we have more space to put more commodities, more variety and new products that are new to Seychelles that we will be testing to see if the population likes them. People have been concerned about the prices for the products. There will be no dramatic changes in the prices,” added Laporte.
It will be open seven days a week and on public holidays.
|Shopping can make you feel hungry. So a cafe area provides shoppers with a place to sit down and have a quick bite to eat. (Joena Bonnelame, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
50 percent from Seychelles suppliers
50 percent of the products in the hypermarket will come from Seychelles’ private companies and wholesalers.
STC says it is working in partnership with the Seychelles Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture and local suppliers to provide fresh local produce to the hypermarket, which will have butcher’s corner, a fish corner and a fruits and vegetable corner that will be sourced from the local market.
The STC hypermarket will also offer a large range of commodities for family needs such as baby supplies, kids toys and home accessories.
“The hypermarket will also have a specialty corner whereby there will be Japanese, Chinese foods and others. Also included in the Seychelles first grand shopping centre is a café, ‘Healthy Living Café’ which will allow clients to shop and eat in the same area. There will be promotions throughout the year ... The duty-free gift shop at the New Port will also move inside the hypermarket,” explained Laporte.
A range of other businesses such as furniture shops, a hair salon, flower shop and an eye-care centre will offer their products and services in the complex.
|Getting a sneak peek before the doors open on October 2. Veronique Laporte (centre) shows a group of journalists around the frozen foods section of the hypermarket. (Joena Bonnelame, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
Second phase to be ready by December
The second phase of the project will be for services on the first floor of the complex, which will have a food court and games room, and is expected to open by December.
Laporte says the new venture will relieve some pressure on the Victoria supermarket that does not have sufficient space for shoppers and their cars and is often crowded at the end of the month when people receive their salaries and start shopping.
The new complex will create 98 new jobs, while 54 existing STC staff will join the hypermarket team.
The building of the complex was started in 2008 through a partnership between SSI and Groupe Caillé, a French importer and distributor based on Reunion island, with plans to open a French brand Casino Géant hypermarket.
In 2013, Groupe Caillé experienced financial difficulties and pulled out. The Seychelles government took over ownership of the project, saying it would redevelop the building in order to recover the investment.
|A large number of cash tills will ensure shoppers don't have to wait too long to pay for the goods in their baskets or trolleys. (Joena Bonnelame, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|