Photo: Global Halal Hub supermarket in Singapore opened on Sep 24, 2016 in a business park in Chai Chee, a largely residential neighborhood in the east of Singapore / Courtesy MyOutlets
*Adds 'Faizal' to Ronnie Tan's name
*Amends revenue projection from $13.2 million for the first year of operations to $9.5 million in sales turnover for the first year of operations, reaching $36.5 million by the end of 2018, as updated by Tan.
A 10,000 square feet all halal-certified food products supermarket opened in Singapore last weekend, carrying items from more than 500 manufacturers.
The supermarket, called Global Halal Hub, is run by Singapore-based MyOutlets.
It carries halal food products from Australia, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, and USA, and aims to be a one-stop shop for both retail and trade customers from around the world, MyOutlets chairman Ronnie Faizal Tan told Salaam Gateway.
In an email interview, Tan said the opening weekend response was “overwhelming”, without disclosing numbers. However, he revealed that the company has projected $9.5 million in sales turnover for the supermarket’s first year of operations, reaching $36.5 million by the end of Dec 2018.
The supermarket is targeting 80 percent of its customer base from the retail sector, according to Tan. This will largely rely on the estimated 840,000 Muslims in Singapore, who make up 15 percent of the country’s 5.6 million population.
It is wooing the remaining 20 percent from the wholesale and trade sector, said Tan.
“Singapore is in the heart of Southeast Asia, making it possible to access a market of 2.8 billion people within just a few hours away by air,” he explained.
“[Singapore] offers unparalleled connectivity to passenger and cargo.”
He cited a stable economy, marketing capability and a universal language (English) as underlying enablers for the business to leverage Singapore’s geographical position.
Most supermarkets in Singapore sell halal food products but Global Halal Hub differentiates itself by being the country's biggest supermarket that only carries halal-certified food products from accredited halal certification bodies.
Tan said they are diligent about authenticity. “We have our halal team to verify the halal certification,” he said.
This is the not the first time the company has opened a supermarket. However, its previous two were much smaller in scale.
“Consumers like to come to a one-stop supermarket concept. As a result, our past supermarket sizes don’t attract their attention,” said Tan.
MyOutlets was established in 2013 by Tan and co-founder Malek Mattar. It aims to close the gap in the halal industry by providing services for small- and medium-sized (SME) manufacturers to penetrate the halal food and beverage industry smoothly, especially in distribution and export.
The manufacturers who sign on with MyOutlets have access to an e-commerce platform that allows them to review channel and sales analytics as well as storefront performance, a typically high-cost set up for these SME halal manufacturers.
Tan said these companies often face many barriers to entry into supermarkets. Among the challenges are shelving and listing fees, advertising and promotional costs, logistics, and stiff entry and payment terms.
CHINA, JAPAN, KOREA
Tan also disclosed that the company is not limiting its wings to Southeast Asia. It also has presence in China, Japan, and Korea.
In China, MyOutlets has partnered with a property developer to build a 2 million square feet halal food hub in Guangdong province.
“We are also working with their local government to accelerate their export and import process to boost economies of scale,” he said.
A bigger supermarket of 20,000 square feet is also in the works for Seoul, Korea. An opening date has not been confirmed yet.
“We expect a minimum of 10,000 Muslim tourists visiting our Seoul outlet every month,” said Tan.
For now, his focus is on building the Singapore Global Halal Hub supermarket as a model to replicate in other countries.
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