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George Theodotou: New Alphamega Hypermarket in Astromeritis and another five projects in the works

The Alphamega Hypermarkets chain is growing and opening a new supermarket in Astromeritis, according to the company’s CEO George Theodotou, who also revealed there are another five projects in the works.

Speaking at the Cyprus Grocery Retail Conference, Theodotou said: “The development plan of Alphamega Hypermarkets includes the opening of a new hypermarket in Astromeritis, which has already started being built, as well as another five projects, which we will be able announce more details about in the near future.

Elsewhere, Theodotou said the Alphamega online store is now counting the same amount of sales as the supermarket chain’s physical stores. Which is a good thing, he said, given that the biggest problem facing the retail sector currently is staff shortages.

Theodotou said the retail sector is a vital contributor to the country’s growth, though it has faced some significant challenges in recent years.

The most prominent challenge right now is the shortage of staff, he added, and criticised the government for not allowing businesses to hire more foreign employees.

“As we have stressed plenty of times, raising the alarm with the competent institutional authorities, the granting of permits to enable third country nationals to fill vacancies that can’t be filled with local human resources, is necessary so as not to disrupt the supply chain and operation of retail businesses,” he said.

Another problem for retail is interest rates, said Theodotou. Even though they have stabilised, he said, they still remain high. “We hope that in the second half of this year, they will drop, though they are not expected to reach the levels of two years ago.”

High energy costs are another issue, according to Theodotou, which are impacting businesses’ revenue. And green taxation will come to add to the businesses’ operational costs, he said, so the government must come up with measures to counter the impact.

Reiterating how well the company’s online store is doing, Theodotou said rapid technological advancements can be used to the industry’s advantage. “Specific personalisation tools, digital assistants, and productive AI models like ChatGPT are shaping a future where boundaries and physical constraints to commerce are removed, consumer habits are fully personalised, and the productivity of diverse business activities skyrockets,” he said.

Along with digitising all of its business operations and services, the company, he added, is already leveraging some of the most advanced AI technologies. To this end, said Theodotou, the company uses tools to personalise special offers, automate staff functions and gradually incorporate algorithms and digital assistants in its business operations to further strengthen the departments’ efficiency and customise the offered services.

Alphamega’s pioneering Click & Collect service, which enables consumers to shop online and pick up their shopping at whatever time suits them from special pickup points, has been gaining momentum. This, said Theodotou, has led the company to decide to increase its Click & Collect pickup points to cater to even more customers.

The Cyprus Grocery Retail Conference was presented by Alphamega Hypermarkets.

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