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Dubai launches sail-thru supermarket

CNN logo CNN 12/7/2018 By Francesca Street, CNN
a boat in the water © Courtesy Majid Al Futtaim

Just when you think you've seen everything, Dubai introduces a new initiative that proves you haven't.

Behold, what is claimed as the world's first "sail-thru supermarket" -- a floating retail emporium ready to cater to anyone unwilling to leave the comfort of their yacht when picking up the groceries.

The purpose-built ship, anchored out at sea, is the work of Dubai-based shopping mall Majid Al Futtaim.

Just your normal grocery run -- on a jetski. © Majid Al Futtaim Just your normal grocery run -- on a jetski.

Customers have the choice of more than 300 snacks and treats from the vessel, which is a franchise of French retail giant Carrefour.

Anyone passing by on a yacht or Jet Ski, can order and collect at the boat's window counter -- or order via app or phone call.

Customers in larger vessels will have their purchases delivered to them.

Oceangoing transport isn't mandatory. Beachgoers can also use the app and have orders delivered to their towel.

The aim, says Majid Al Futtaim Retail CEO Hani Weiss, is "making sure that we can serve our customers not only on shore, but always."

Eco-focus

But is there really a need for such an initiative?

"I think we need to create the demand," Weiss, who is confident customers will use the service, tells CNN Travel.

The specialized vessel, dubbed an "Aqua Pod," was custom-designed and created by Aquatic Architects Design Studio.

It's apparently designed to be as eco-friendly as possible, and will be powered by rechargable batteries. Plus, it's got a trash unit that vacuums up floating debris into a holding tank, to be disposed of on the shore.

The vessel is now in service. Weather-depending, it should be accessible year-round.

"It's already floating out in the sea," says Weiss. "It floats six days a week, from 10 a.m. to 7 a.m."

Time will tell whether the concept will sink or swim.

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