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Looking to Start a Grocery Store in Dubai, UAE (2023) Guide

November 23, 2022by Harneet Bhatia

A grocery store in Dubai is a good business idea due to the opportunities offered by the local economy. Also, the license application process is quite simple and you will get the benefits of any small business in the country. Having a specialized organization is a good way for the process to flow properly.

In this article, you will learn everything you need to open your store and comply with every legal requirement. In the same way, we detail the entire process so that you do not miss any aspect of each stage. Let us see:

1. Requirements to set up a grocery store in Dubai

grocery store

Before starting a grocery store in Dubai, you need to know the requirements to be able to do so. These requirements include the following:

1.1 A local sponsor

People who want to set up a business in Dubai need to get a sponsor to support their business. The law establishes that the sponsor will own 51% of the business and you the remaining 49%. Therefore, this is an important point to establish your store, unless you do it in a free zone.

1.2 License and registration

Another mandatory requirement to establish your business in Dubai is a proper license and other certifications. In this case, the authority in charge of providing these permits is the Department of Economic Development (DED).

1.3 Jurisdiction

You can open your store in Dubai Mall or Meena Bazar considering which of these places will do you better. This is because you should consider an appropriate jurisdiction for your grocery store in UAE. This also counts for the shareholding structure that you must follow.

1.4 Procedures

You should know that to establish your store, you must carry out the procedures indicated by the local authorities. In addition, you must obtain all the approvals of the departments that govern this type of business in the country. This includes certain permits, including visas and other important documents.

2. Steps to open a grocery store in Dubai

If you are interested in opening a food store, you will notice that the procedure is quite simple. However, you can get advice from a professional organization if you want the process to flow smoothly. This will help you if you do not know the market or the procedures for setting up a company in the UAE.

Thus, you will be able to obtain your license and all the necessary permits to start your successful grocery business. Therefore, to open your business in Dubai, you will need to follow the steps that we will detail below.

2.1 Initial considerations

The first step is to determine some factors that will define the entire process to start the business. These items include the following:

  • The investment you want to make
  • Budget
  • The location of the store
  • Business structure
  • The necessary licenses
  • Market trends

You will also need to do some research to find out the cost of licenses for these types of stores. In this case, advice is also important to know each of these aspects. This will give you a clearer vision of what you will need to set up your small business in Dubai.

2.2 Gather all necessary documentation

The next step to opening your grocery store in the UAE is to collect all the required documentation. For example, to apply for your business license, you will need to present your visa and passport, as well as that of the other owners. In addition, you must have, among other documents, the following:

  • Leasing contract
  • Ejari
  • Municipal permits
  • Trade mark

Having each of these documents will facilitate the corresponding procedures to continue with the process.

2.3 Project approval

All the documentation mentioned in the previous point must be submitted to the established government entities. In this way, you will comply with the regulations established by the local government and the Department of Economic Development (DED). One of the first departments you should receive authorization from is the Department of Environmental Defense.

With the first approval, you will have authorization from the local government to establish your business in the UAE.

2.4 Trade name

The Department of Economic Development is the entity in charge of authorizing the name of your store in Dubai. In addition, the name that appears on the license must be the same as the name that will appear on your store sign. In addition, this name must comply with the standards established by the DED.

For example, you must make sure that said name does not contain any kind of controversial or denigrating phrase. In this way, you will avoid incurring legal problems and losing the opportunity to lose your business.

2.5 choose a location for your grocery store

The next step is to choose the specific location where you want to establish your business in the Emirate of Dubai. However, this process can be done in advance of the opening request process. In this case, the place must go through a verification process by the economic development department.

Thus, from the moment you have the place where you want to settle, get the lease. Additionally, you must apply for the Ejari license to complete this stage.

2.6 Obtain the corresponding license

In Dubai, there is a specific license for each type of economic activity that takes place in this emirate. These licenses can be the following:

The first of these categories is the most common type of license in the United Arab Emirates. Also, this is the type of license you need to be able to set up your food store in this emirate. Also, it must be that with this license you can only sell the groceries specified in it.

Therefore, you will not be able to sell non-edible products such as medicines, pharmaceuticals, or cosmetics. You must pay the fee corresponding to this business license within the period established by the authorities.

2.7 Visa processing

Although it appears as the last step, this process can be done at the same time that you process the business license. In this case, you will get an investor visa so you can start working on your grocery business. In addition, thanks to this visa, you will be able to request a visa for your family members or employees through your business.

3. Dubai Grocery License Rules

grocery store

Dubai has established a series of rules for businesses that deal with groceries to maintain safety. These rules are as follows:

3.1 Sales

The rules related to trade sales are as follows:

  • The sales policy must be shown to the customer in an appropriate way, which includes the replacement and return of the merchandise.
  • The establishment may not sell products with false brands.
  • It is strictly prohibited to sell or promote counterfeit products.
  • The commercial establishment will not be able to carry out its activities after midnight until it obtains the appropriate permit.

3.2 Products

Regarding the products, the policies that govern their sales are the following:

  • You must notify DED of the existence of any counterfeit products or supplies on the market.
  • The goods, vegetables, or fruits should not be on display.
  • Each of the products that are for sale must contain the date of manufacture and the expiration date.
  • The brand of the articles must be duly registered with the Ministry of Economy for the safety of all.
  • Groceries cannot have discounts, offers, or rebates without proper authorization.

3.3 Other important rules

In addition to the above, you must follow other rules to avoid any legal inconvenience with the authorities. The said rules are the following:

  • The client must request the invoice for the goods that he acquires.
  • The prices of each product must appear clearly demarcated.
  • You will only be able to place the charging device once you get the proper permission.
  • The name you put on the store sign must be the same as the name on the business license.
  • In addition, you will not be able to display any advertising signs in front of the store until you obtain the necessary permission.
  • Stores that sell food should not engage in commercial campaigns until the company that offers them obtains a permit.
  • Any type of modification must be made only with the approval of the authority concerned.
  • You will not be able to change your grocery store location without prior approval.

Each of these rules will need to be strictly followed once you have obtained your business license in Dubai. However, you should be aware that the Department of Economic Development is making changes to the trading standards. This will help improve the quality of services in the retail sector.

4. What is the cost of a business license in Dubai?

To start the business you want, you will need to obtain a business license in Dubai. As we mentioned before, the Department of Economic Development is in charge of issuing this license. This includes everything from small grocery stores to multinational companies.

The cost of a business license for a small business can range from AED 8,000 to AED 10,000. However, a large number of factors can affect the cost of a business license. Some of the items that may affect increasing the cost associated with these licenses are the following:

4.1 Nature of business

Business activity or type of business influences the issuance of business licenses in the UAE. In this case, your store falls within the commercial licenses granted to this type of business. Hence, this is the determining factor in defining the cost of a business license.

4.2 Company partners

A company with a single partner has lower costs for the license it wants to obtain. However, since you need a local partner, your company will have at least two partners, including you. Therefore, this is another factor to consider when setting a budget to establish your business.

4.3 Office space

This is a cost associated with any type of license, not just commercial. To get it, you must include in the processing fees 2.5% of the total amount of rent for an office space. In addition, you must consider the cost of buying or renting the establishment in which your grocery store will operate.

4.4 Additional approvals

Approvals from different departments and authorities can also cause a significant increase in costs. However, these are indirect costs so they are not applied directly to the price of a license. However, these approvals will serve to complete the business license application process.

5. We offer advice to set up your store in Dubai

Dubai offers an unrivaled retail space for people who want to set up a grocery store. This is because the market offers different benefits and facilities to carry out the entire application process. In addition, the government is increasingly offering business opportunities to improve the economy of the country.

Our organization can offer qualified advice and other essential services for any business or person. Some of the services we provide for companies and individuals are the following:

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For a smooth and easy process to set up your grocery store, please contact us. You can do it through our telephone number +971 433 16 688, in which you will obtain specialized attention. We also have the email to contact us in case of doubts or information about our services.

Harneet Bhatia

Harneet Bhatia is the Sales and Compliance Officer at Connect Group. She is specialized in Company Setup Services , golden visa uae , Business Consultancy and Sales Assistance. She is working within Middle East and UAE. Also she has done her Master of Business Administration in Literature.

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