KUWAIT CITY, November 28, 2018
KUWAIT CITY, November 28, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --
OnCost Cash and Carry, the first wholesale membership retail store in Kuwait, announced last week that it had acquired Gulfmart, the well-known supermarket chain that has been operating in Kuwait since 1999.
Announcing the change in ownership, the Chief Executive Officer of OnCost Cash and Carry, Saleh Al-Tunaib, said that once the transfer of shares process has been completed , Gulfmart and OnCost would merge and begin operating as a single entity within the span of the next six months.
"Once the take-over process and merger of both companies are completed, Oncost would have a total of 20 branches spread across the country. Over the next five years, we plan on increasing the number of branches we own to 35, and look forward to entering the Saudi and the UAE markets through strategic partnerships with professional retail groups in those countries," said Al-Tunaib. He also pointed out that with the acquisition of Gulfmart, the total market share of Oncost in the local food market would reach 4 percent, which he aimes to increase further in the future.
Oncost, with its distinctive strategy of selling products to customers at wholesale prices in a household focused retail environment, has a pricing policy that focuses on competitive and wholesale prices. Elaborating on the pricing policy, the CEO said, "We have a good, better and best pricing strategy that makes our product assortment to everyone. In addition, our free membership program, which now has over 80,000 members, provides cash rewards of up to 4 percent of purchase value to subscribers. In addition to the weekly offers throughout the year that provide great discounts .We also launched our website in 2017 where customers can place their orders and expect free delivery anywhere in Kuwait within three hours."
Detailing the genesis of the company and its unique business model, Al-Tunaib said, "Oncost was established in 2010 as Kuwait's first professional membership based wholesale center. It was a natural development that leveraged our strength in owning slaughter houses and operating Kuwait's Central Vegetables and Fruits Market in Sulaibiya. We opened our first branch in Alforda Market and became the first central market to provide everything and anything from fresh vegetables, fruits, meat and fish, to household cleaning and washing products to customers at wholesale prices all under one roof.
"What makes us stand out from other central markets in Kuwait is our focus on wholesale shopping in a household focused retail environment for on an efficient assortment, while providing those selected products at the best, fair and competitive prices in the market. For instance, while others might provide 8 to 12 different types of bottled water, we offer only 3 or 4, but at prices that range from low to high. Our focus on wholesale purchases attracts different sections of customers, including companies, families, and even individual shoppers. Moreover, we also serve the HORECA sector and are affiliated with around 500 companies to whom we provide imported or local food and other products.
"In addition to our brick-and-mortar stores, we also have a 'Baqal' service that receives and delivers online orders from customers exclusively through the Talabat or Baqal mobile app. This service, which has nearly 30 delivery vehicles, promises to deliver orders within a maximum of 30 minutes of placing the order."
Clarifying the rational behind acquiring the Gulfmart brand, with which OnCost is reported to have been negotiating for almost two years, Al-Tunaib said: "There are very few suitable real estate locations for central markets in Kuwait, and this was a hurdle to our expansion plans. By buying Gulfmart, we are able to immediately expand our presence in 16 new locations. Moreover, the Gulfmart brand is well established in the market and, having been operating here for 19 years, they also have a good customer-base."
Explaining the future merger plans for the two brands, Remesh Ananda Das the Chief operating officer said, "We expect the full merger of the two brands to take about six months, until then we will operate as single entity under the same management and policies, so that Gulfmart customers will not discern any sudden change to their shopping patterns and habits after the merger. We value the culture and history behind the people and Gulfmart brand, and will strive to preserve it.
Speaking about the success of OnCost, the COO said, "Today, we have over 30,000 square meters of retail space and employ more than 1,000 people. The success of our business model can be ascertained from the fact that within two years of our establishment we were able to not only develop a strong customer-base but also become a very profitable operation."
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