The Business Year

Özgür Güneş Fırıldak

General Manager, Ramstore Kazakhstan

In Kazakhstan, the retail landscape has changed and developed quickly over the last two years. Competition in retail is harder than before, suppliers are more professional, and local production is increasing. As a result, everything is more complex. In such an environment, Ramstore has succeeded in constant sales growth by following stable and straight business strategies. Over that period, we invested in new stores, and as of today we have reached 25 supermarkets and hypermarkets, which are operating in seven different cities. This is a tough market of around 16 million people, and the geography is huge relative to population density. To combat that, we have invested heavily in infrastructure over the past two years, especially in IT, logistics, and human resources.

Alexander L. Garber

General Director, Magnum

There are many factors that contribute to success. If you set up a discount store, you need to stick to certain practices. Low prices should be followed by appropriate marketing and acquisition policies, as well as indoor and outdoor zoning. A store needs to be convenient from top to bottom. It should also allocate adequate space for parking. We use four-level stacks and merchandise pallets. More importantly, we aim to keep a limited number of stock keeping units (SKUs). An average department store markets around 30,000-40,000 SKUs, while we offer no more than 12,000. We strictly stick to our basic principle of keeping prices on 60%-70% of SKUs at least 5%-10% lower than our competitors. In addition, we select the most prominent goods and arrange them according to brand.

Anton Van Gorp

Managing Director, Anton Van Gorp

One of the advantages of merging with local partners is that they have a stake in the business. What I mean by this is that they are not like the managing director of a company who always thinks about money. It is about trust. If you look internationally, Kazakhstan is often compared with Russia. However, I think in many ways it is more like an Asian country, especially if you look at the way people behave and do business. In China, they say a signed contract is just the start of the cooperation. It is very important to have a contract, but it is just the base from which to begin working with one another. Through actually working with each other, you back up your promises. For suppliers in Kazakhstan, if you don’t have volume, they are not interested in you. Here, I like that many producers have their own business.

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