How to Open a Grocery Store in Sharjah – new grocery rules in Sharjah

Sharjah has the third-largest population in the UAE, coupled with a strong heritage – the emirate is touted to be the cultural capital on the nation. Along with its vibrant culture, Sharjah maintains the UAE’s world-class standard for infrastructure, a convenient trading location, and political stability. These factors determine the city’s attractiveness in the eyes of investors.

Sharjah offers similar benefits to both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, for a fraction of the price. Trading companies, such as grocery stores, enjoy the emirate’s access to multiple Gulf ports and the exotic groceries from Asia and Africa. The city’s variety of advantages presents an incredible opportunity for future grocery store owners.

Let us explore the process of launching your grocery store! As with any new business in the UAE, we will first need to determine how to register our grocery store in the Emirate of Sharjah.

Which business license will my Sharjah grocery store require?

To register your grocery store, we will need a commercial license in the Sharjah Mainland. Here are the benefits of this jurisdiction:

  • Strong market presence
  • Low taxation and duty fees
  • Eased access to the UAE workforce
  • Low capital requirements
  • Access to more developed infrastructure
  • Government incentives
  • Low-cost workspace

What should be the legal status of a mainland grocery store?

The legal status of your grocery store will most likely be an Individual Establishment, also known as a Limited Liability Company (LLC). Expats require a local sponsor to operate in the UAE mainland. The expat’s local partner(s) must own a minimum of 51% of the company’s shares, while the expat owner(s) are permitted up to 49% ownership.

What is the next step after determining the store’s legal status & activity?

The next step is to determine your store’s trade name.

The trade name differentiates your store from your competitors while indicating your licensed activity. A UAE-based representative, like Dubai Business Advisors, will quickly prepare and present the application forms filled with all of your company details in both English and Arabic. We will make sure you receive your desired trade name and properly represent your grocery store’s activity without violating any UAE laws.

What are the required documents used to register the trade name of the store?

We will help arrange and present the following documents at the relevant government departments to ease the registration process for you:

  • License form
  • Investor license report (if available)
  • Investor electronic registration form
  • Copy of investor’s passport (must be valid)
  • National ID and Residence Visa (for expats)
  • NOC / No Objection Letter for non-investors
  • Permission from the Legal Court allowing minors (aged under 21) to perform business activities
  • Approvals from relevant authorities*

(We will require the details of your store in order to provide the list of relevant authorities)

 How will I formalize my agreement with my local partner/sponsor?

Not only will we help find you a local sponsor, we can also assist you in drafting the necessary Memorandum of Association, which the local partner will gladly sign at the relevant UAE courts or Notary Public. This step is required for all LLCs.

Are there any legal processes regarding the store’s premises?

Yes, the locations and premises must adhere to the standards set out by the Sharjah Economic Development Department (SEDD), Sharjah Municipality and Sharjah Police. We will advise you on how to prepare your premises for inspection by the SEDD and record all of the relevant data for the final step.

Here are the required documents which we will help you arrange and present:

  • Title deed
  • Site map
  • Trade name request
  • Site visit & inspection approvals from Sharjah Municipality & Sharjah Police

What are the new rules for Sharjah’s & the UAE’s grocery stores?

Luckily, the most recent standards released by the respective Departments of Economic Development for each emirate will be easier and cheaper to comply with for new stores. The regulations include standardized signboards, security cameras, and higher food storage standards.

The Sharjah Economic Development Department’s (SEDD) grocery store regulations include:

  • The minimum size of groceries is 30m2
  • No cluttered shelves
  • Separate metal shelves for baked goods
  • Refrigerated displays for fruits and vegetables
  • 5-gallon water bottles must be secured with metal barriers
  • Insect traps must be present
  • Storefronts must be made of glass
  • All members of staff should wear uniforms with name tags
  • The store must have an adequate number of CCTV cameras
  • Signboards must be of a consistent style
  • Walls must be smooth and painted white
  • Flooring should be made of ceramic tiles

These regulations include modernization initiatives set to attract foreign direct investment (FDI).

After validating your premises, receiving the necessary approvals, and paying any outstanding fees – you will be eligible to obtain the full license for your grocery store in Sharjah’s Mainland!

What is the fee structure of these processes?

Unfortunately, it is impossible to determine a single free structure for all of the required setup processes – because the processes are situational for each business.

Luckily, we will be able to outline the optimal fee structure for your grocery store once you contact one of our specialists and relay all of the relevant details to them for accurate advice.

The initial consultation is on the house – free of charge!

Can Dubai Business Advisors help me assess, plan, and execute the launch of my business?

Yes we can, our management consulting & specialized market-entry services include:

  • Feasibility Studies
  • Market Research
  • Business Planning
  • Due Diligence
  • Family Office Solutions
  • HR Solutions
  • Financial Advice


Phone: +971 4 341 9701

Online contact form

We look forward to advising and assisting you in procuring your permit and visa.

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