Originally from Azad Kashmir, Najib Khan opened the first ever Costcutter Store in Battersea London 25 years ago followed by the Camberwell store. Najib also has exclusive rights of Costcutter Pakistan and Marrakech. After purchasing his first store in 1985, he transferred his business from sole trader to a Limited Company under Sunstar Group in 1991. Today the group has 16 stores under its UK umbrella and is soon to launch three more overseas in Morocco and Pakistan.
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 to set 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.
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