How to start a grocery store in Dubai [2024 Guide]

Grocery stores are community anchors. Stocked with convenience products such as food and drinks, small household necessities and more, a grocery store in Dubai is potentially very profitable.

Starting a grocery shop in Dubai is a straightforward process, and this guide takes you through the required stages, covering these topics:

  • Why start a grocery store in Dubai?
  • Benefits of starting a grocery store in Dubai
  • Steps to start a grocery store in Dubai
  • Cost of starting a grocery store in Dubai
  • Things to remember when starting a grocery shop in Dubai
  • Business setup in Dubai with Trade License Zone

Why start a grocery store in Dubai?

Dubai is one of the leading economic hubs in the world. The emirate’s population comprises more than 90% foreign nationals, giving Dubai a cosmopolitan population with cultures from all over the world.

A supermarket and grocery store provide citizens with daily essentials. The demand for more convenience means that grocery stores in Dubai are potentially highly lucrative for entrepreneurs and investors. Supplying the products for a local community, or specialising in niche products, can further improve the target market and potential profits.

Benefits of starting a grocery store in Dubai

Entrepreneurs love opportunities. The benefits of starting a grocery store in Dubai are many and varied, but these are some of the most significant ones:

  • As more and more people move to Dubai, the demand for grocery stores increases.
  • You can choose to stock a wide variety of products to cater to specific audiences, such as deli products or vegan-based food options.
  • Setting up a supermarket in Dubai is easy, as you’ll only need a trade license, a supplier network and a suitable location.

Steps to start a grocery store in Dubai

There are seven steps to starting a grocery store in Dubai. Below, we outline the steps required to get your commercial trade license and start trading in Dubai.

Step 1: Partner with Trade License Zone

The first step to opening a supermarket in Dubai is to partner with Trade License Zone. Our expert company formation specialists will help you manage all aspects of the business license application and setup process and communicate with the relevant government and municipal authorities on your behalf.

Step 2: Select your business activities

Your trade license application requires that you specify and stipulate all your business activities on your trade license. These are the only business activities you may carry out in the UAE. There are more than 2,000 different business activities, but your choice will be guided by the type of commercial trade license you are applying for. If you conduct business without the correct business activities, you may face severe penalties from Dubai’s authorities.

For any help with this crucial step, contact Trade License Zone’s experienced staff to help you navigate this somewhat tricky process.
Step 3: Select a company name

The UAE has strict regulations regarding company names. Business names must not include offensive or blasphemous language or references to Allah or Islam, must avoid names of well-known brands, and, if you are using your own name, it must contain no abbreviations.

Trade License Zone will help you choose and register your grocery shop name with the UAE’s Registry Office.

Step 4: Choose a location

You must scout for an ideal location to open your grocery store in Dubai. The premises must meet Dubai Municipality’s health and cleanliness standards and other government checks. There are numerous store locations for you to choose from, and real estate agents can guide your decision-making by helping you find the correct size of space your store needs and other parameters.

Step 5: Apply for Initial Approval

In applying for your commercial trade license with the Department of Economic Development (DED), you must submit documentation for initial approval to continue with the remainder of the trade license application process.

Documents most commonly required for this step include:

  • Copy of the owner’s passport and visa
  • Copy of the tenancy lease contract
  • Trademark registration from the Ministry of Economy
  • Municipal approvals
  • Company name approval from the Registry Office

Step 5: Submit your application

Once you’ve completed the above steps, you can submit your commercial license application to the DED. Trade License Zone can help you with this critical step to avoid errors, delays, or rejections.

Step 6: Apply for your visa

Once your commercial trade license has been granted and you’ve paid the fees, you can apply for your UAE residency visa to live and work in Dubai. Your commercial license may entitle you to sponsor the visas of family and staff, depending on the conditions of the trade license.

Step 7: Open your corporate bank account

You can now open your corporate bank account for your grocery store in Dubai. This is the last step before you can open the doors to your new grocery store to trade.

Cost of starting a grocery store in Dubai

The cost of starting a grocery store in Dubai starts from AED 10,000 to AED 50,000. The price varies depending on several factors, including rental, commercial license, government and municipal fees, and other expenses.

You will also need to consider the cost of outfitting your supermarket, stock and products, sales equipment, and more. These will require a small to medium investment.

To get an accurate, free quote for the trade license application process and business setup, contact the friendly and experienced staff at Trade License Zone.

Things to remember when starting a grocery shop in Dubai

When starting a grocery shop in Dubai, these are the top things to remember:

  • If you need to make any changes to your trade license, you must seek approvals from the DED and government and municipal authorities.
  • You must apply for pre-approval from the DED for any advertisements, promotions, banner ads, and wall posters/stickers.
  • You may not sell any fake products in the UAE.
    As a grocery shop owner in Dubai, you and your business are exempt from personal and corporate taxes.
  • Your grocery store will need a VAT registration number and submit annual tax returns as required by the UAE tax authority. The VAT rate in Dubai is only 5%.
  • All sales must carry a standard invoicing system.

Business setup in Dubai with Trade License Zone

Business setup in the UAE is straightforward when you partner with Trade License Zone. The UAE has streamlined the trade license application and company formation processes, and our experts will save you time and money and eliminate the frustration of unnecessary delays or rejections.

The specialists at Trade License Zone can get you started with your grocery store in Dubai as soon as you provide us with some basic documentation and information. Our team will then take care of the rest for you: we’ll manage your business setup, communicate with all relevant government departments and authorities, and report back to you when you’re ready to start trading as a grocery shop in Dubai. It really is that simple.

Contact us to get a personalized quotation based on your business activity