Mydin (RM3bil turnover) eyes Sabah next
Published on: Thursday, March 12, 2015
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Kota Kinabalu: Sabah may soon see another hypermarket making its presence felt – Mydin – belonging to the nation's largest hypermarket and retail group, Mydin Mohamed Holdings Bhd. It is part of the group's plan to add 25 more supermarkets over the next four years."The group will invest RM500-600 million annually in building hypermarkets, including in Sabah and Sarawak by 2018," said Datuk Ameer Ali Mydin.

Ameer is the second son of Mydin Mohd Ghulam Hussein who graduated into a thriving provision shop business in Kota Baru, Kelantan, in 1957, called Mydin, after a humble start as a Pasar Malam (night market) trader.

Ameer, currently Managing Director of Mydin Group, is credited with having brought Mydin to the next level. After success at the Masjid India outlet in Kuala Lumpur, he started his first hypermarket in Subang Jaya.

Ameer encountered difficulties in getting banks to finance the construction of Mydin Subang jaya, though his business model proved a success.

He recalls that "no bank wanted to finance us when we decided to open our first hypermarket in Subang Jaya. The reason: 'You must be out of your mind to open next to a hypermarket (Giant) that is already established and strong! How can you compete with a group that has deep pockets?"

Bankers also warned Ameer it was risky for Mydin to open in Subang Jaya. After all, Mydin was better known for cheap products and its market has traditionally been in low-income areas like Jalan Masjid India and in smaller towns.

Ameer's reply was: "Malaysians love to go to the pasar malam, right? Why- because they can get things at a cheaper price. I live in Bangsar, which is quite upper-middle class. Have you been to the pasar malam there? People still want a good buy".

After being rejected by several banks, Ameer finally obtained a loan from Arab-Malaysian Bank Bhd. The business in Mydin Subang Jaya proved so good that just one year on, the hypermarket had to add parking space for customers.

From then on, there has been no stopping Ameer and the Mydin group. With banks now fully backing him, Ameer has moved to open a chain of Mydin outlets, ranging from hypermarkets to convenience stores and mini-markets. Location and demographics determine the type of Mydin store.

In the process, Ameer transformed a traditional family sundry-and-retail business into a multi-billion-ringgit hypermarket and retail chain managed by professionals but headed by family members.

Today, the homegrown hypermarket and retail group has more than 260 retail stores including 18 hypermarkets, 16 emporiums, three bazaars, 48 mini-markets that operate as MyMydin, eight convenience stores that operate as MyMart and six franchise outlets operating as Mydin Mart; three premium grocery stores known as SAM's Groceria, one premium F& B store know as SAM's Deli and is involved in 135 Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia operating nationwide. SAM stands for "Saya Anak Malaysia."

The transformation and growth of the Mydin business has been beyond the family's wildest dreams.

Starting with Mydin himself and his wife, the Mydin group today employs some 6,500 and has an annual turnover of almost RM3 bil. From selling toys, household items and sundry goods, Mydin is now involved in almost every aspect of the retail chain business, including premium food and beverage outlets.

On the possibility of being listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange, Ameer says the group will seek such only once its revenue hits the " respectable level" of at least RM4 bil.

"We generate an annual revenue of RM2.6 bil. We could be listed on the main Board now but I don't think it [revenue] is high enough. We want it to grow to between RM4 bil and RM5 bil a year. I think that's respectable size," he says.

Ameer stresses that "the listing of a company should be about more than just raising funds. It should not be just about the money. It's about transparency and accountability," he explains.

As to the secrets of Mydin's success, Ameer says it is important to know what you are doing and do the things you know. We have always been in the wholesale and retail business and we keep to our expertise.

"We try to learn as much as possible about developments in the retail industry and to improve in terms of merchandising warehousing, customer service, system and information technology, point of purchase and tenant management."

On a personal level, he says, to be successful one must have the will or the "greed" to succeed. "It is same for everyone – work hard and work smart.

We have to put in the hours and we have to sacrifice our family time and our lives.

There is no easy way," he adds, debunking any secret hopes of a quick-fix formula.

"I can talk about a balanced lifestyle now because I have worked hard and sacrificed.

It is very important to have an understanding family that shares your goals. Perseverance is essential. "We must have humility as we grow.

We are only human and make mistakes. Accept the mistakes and move on.

"I normally do not dwell on matters. I look at the pros and cons, make my decisions and don't regret it.

We cannot expect to be always right.

We have to bear consequences of our decisions but don't be afraid to make wrong decisions.

"Learn from your mistakes and move on. Organisations do not grow if they fear making mistakes," Ameer advises.

The success of Mydin is encapsulated in a book entitled "Mydin – The untold Story."

Datin Wira Dr Siti Hawa Mohd, the author who is also Ameer's wife, says she wrote the book after more than 13 years of research to "inspire readers" to go for their dreams.

"I want to tell my readers that you can be like Mydin and his family… they made their dream a reality.

"All you need to become rich and successful is will power and hard work. "There is no short cut to success, he said."


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