Yacout Info: What are your plans for the Costcutter supermarket in M'hamid in Marrakech?
Najib Mohammed Khan: our aim is to provide a local supermarket service to the M'hamid area which has a population of 100.000 inhabitants. Our business develops medium sized stores to serve the local population. wirth a local supermarket with some high quality products that we can introduce form the UK. The M'hmid supermarket will open on 17 September.
Our business model is based on understanding how we can best serve the community we set up our stores in. The service, the produce, our turnover and range of food items is critical to getting the balance right and meeting our target audience needs. Our brand is fast becoming a recognized service brand, providing convenience at so many levels within the community.
We also ensure we recruit and train individuals from within the community, to give our team the sense of ownership and commitment to our stores. Most employees of the group live and work in close proximity to the stores they run, and this creates the sense of the age-old ‘corner shop’ family. This sense of family ensures our customers keep coming back.
We pride ourselves in being accessible to customers who are encouraged to send in their comments and recommendations when we set up promotional initiatives. This is all under the Sunstar Group which is the holding company.
Q: What sort of products will you be selling?
A: We are finalising our product list and most of the food products will be sourced here in Morocco. As with all our medium sized stores we will be concentrating on food which is what we are good at. We want to be focused on providing the local community in M'hamid with a first class service.
Q: How did you select M'hamid?
A: We were looking for an area which needed a supermarket away from the larger supermarkets . At the moment M'hamid does not have a supermarket and the inhabitants have to travel into the city to shop. Being located close to the airport is also attractive for delivery of goods from the UK.
Q: How easy did you find it toset up in Morocco ?
A: There were many initial bureaucratic hurdles in forming a company here which you don't find in the UK but we overcame the challenges.We put together an excellent management team with the required language skills and experience. It is a challenge to find the right people and we worked with ANAPEC to select people with the right skills.We also provide necessary training for the personnel and so far so good.
Q: What made you think of Marrakech?
A: We felt that as a tourist city Marrakech had the potential to absorb a new development like a Costcutter store.
There is an excellent infrastructure and it is only three hours flight from the UK . The market in Britain and Europe is saturated and we were looking for a new area to develop our business. The city of Marrakech is growing and it is a dynamic market which is close to Europe.
Q: Do you have a foundation which works with local communities ?
A: We have a foundation of which I am a trustee which allows us to serve the wider community in which we work. This is th tt the the the PTS foundation which is a UK charity that is working in collaboration with the James Caan Foundation building villages in Pakistan. They are an humanitarian charity that have worked with many local schools in London. Government Health Initiatives such as Healthy Eating.
The PTS Foundation support various charities such as: Diabetes UK, Action for children, The Heart Foundation and Cancer Research. We are very keen to widen our activities to supporting the community in Marrakech.