As the founder and owner of the Sunstar Group, which still co-owns the Costcutter symbol company, Mr Najib Khan has played a significant role in the expansion of the brand since he first became involved back in 1987. With the emergence of Costcutter Morocco, Najib has taken on a key challenge, one that he will relish after his success during the last 30 years.
The reasons Najib chose to join the Costcutter brand in the first place included its highly customer-focused vision, one that he works hard to maintain today. In the period in which Najib has been involved with the Costcutter brand, he has orchestrated its rise from a relatively small Yorkshire-based company to the biggest brand in convenience stores. In achieving this, he has helped the firm to eclipse such competitors as Londis, Spa and Mace, all the while maintaining a local, national and even international social responsibility.
Najib’s story begins with the move his family made to the United Kingdom from their native Kashmir. In common with many other British Pakistanis, Najib’s family were economic migrants with designs on a better life; however, there was no way of knowing the sheer determination and hard work on Najib’s part that would follow – and it all began with his first role in a Battersea convenience store in 1982.
During the years that followed, Najib learned his trade diligently as he paid close attention to the mechanisms of food wholesale and retail distribution systems. On noticing the lack of convenience stores of the type south of Birmingham, he joined the Costcutter brand. This led to him working on the opening of stores in Camberwell and Battersea. Until 1991, Najib was a sole trader, but he then transferred to limited company status under the Sunstar Group.
Najib knows all about taking those big, albeit calculated, risks that are vital to success: from selling his car and borrowing from friends and family in the early years, right through to the financing of his project up to £105,000 on monthly installments of £7,000 and two months’ advance payment. In the latter case, it took a mere six months of initial trading to pay off the principal Barclays loan, which goes some way to indicating Najib’s ability to take calculated risks on the basis of a high level of retail understanding and thorough market research.
In recent years, Najib has continued to apply his business acumen to spectacular success, including winning the ‘Asian Trader of the Year’ award in 2000. He has a strong record in property investment as well as in convenience stores and the global food market, and continues to grow his portfolio of properties while procuring Costcutter sites. His most recent achievements include the Sunstar Group winning the Responsible Retailer of the Year accolade at the Convenience Retail Awards 2012, as well as the expansion of Costcutter into Mexico, with the opening of a 3,000 sq ft Costcutter-branded convenience store near Marrakech Airport in summer 2011 marking the brand’s African debut.
Najib places a strong emphasis on serving local people, not only by recruiting and training local people to Costcutter stores but also by engaging in local initiatives such as the Government’s recent Change4life healthy eating campaign. He is also one of the successful businessmen behind the charitable PTS Foundation, in which he became involved after being especially moved by the flood relief work undertaken during the 2010 floods in Pakistan.