Our Main Principle: High Quality And Low Prices
We talked to Haluk Dortluoğlu, Executive Board Member and CFO at BİM, about BİM’s achievements in Turkey and Morocco
“Since our establishment, we have been focusing on offer- ing high-quality products at low prices by cutting down on unnecessary expenses and keeping the profit margin low,” said Haluk Dortluoğlu, underlining the motto of their brand.
SINCE ITS ESTABLISHMENT IN 1995, BİM HAS BEEN GROWING IN ANY WAY TO THIS DAY AND ENDED THE YEAR 2019 WITH 8,348 STORES IN TOTAL. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE SOURCE OF THIS SUCCESS?
We had a long preparation period before starting our oper- ation in BİM. We looked into the shortcomings of the retail sector in our country and developed a never-before-seen business model.
The format that we developed for BİM has its own dynamics which cannot be imitated easily. Since our establishment, we have been focusing on offering high-quality products at low prices by cutting down on unnecessary expenses and keeping the profit margin low. In this regard, we started working with suppliers with high quality standards who only produce for BİM and started supplying special brand products. This model allowed us to offer quality products at low prices and was embraced by consumers as well. We are where we are now only through the courtesy of our customers.
In the meantime, we created an amazing corporate culture within BİM. And we maintained this culture by training our managers within our organization. BİM has always been a company that cares about human values. We value our employees highly. At the same time, we have an under- standing that aims to work with our staff for long periods of time. We are glad to see how this approach increases the motivation of our employees and strengthens the team spirit.
BİM OFFERS ITS SERVICES NOT ONLY IN 81 PROVINCES OF TURKEY BUT ALSO IN EGYPT AND MOROCCO. WHAT WERE THE REASONS THAT PREPARED THE BRAND TO OPEN STORES ABROAD, ESPECIALLY IN MOROCCO? COULD YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR STARTING DATE OF SERVICE IN THE COUNTRY
AND THE NUMBER OF BİM STORES THERE?
Morocco has a population of approximately 37 million, consisting of young people most- ly. In addition, its gross domestic product in 2018 was $117.9 billion, and the per capita in- come according to purchasing power parity is around $3,237 in the country. All this is serious potential. The country’s middle class is getting stronger and markets are growing steadily. So, we have decided to open a branch in Morocco to make use of this potential. Thus, the BİM Stores SARL brand was established on May 19, 2008 in Morocco as a company 100% affili- ated to BİM Birleşik Mağazalar AŞ. We opened our first store in Casablanca in 2009. BİM’s high quality-low price approach was loved by customers in Morocco as in Turkey. Last year, we opened 37 more stores and increased our number to 534. Now we are opening a new page in Moroc- co. We have recently signed an agreement with a private equity fund called Helios Investment Partners to sell 35 per cent of the shares of our company BİM Stores SARL. Helios Investment Partners is a UK-based company that has been investing only in Africa since 2004 with invest- ments in more than 30 African countries. This agreement will make a significant contribution to our sustainability, development, and localisation process in Morocco.
WHEN YOU CONSIDER THE BİM OPERATIONS IN MOROCCO, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ABOUT THE CONSUMER TRENDS IN THE COUNTRY? BASED ON THAT, WOULD YOU EVALUATE THE TURKEY- MOROCCO TRADE RELATIONS IN TERMS OF YOUR SECTOR?
With our international stores, we have the chance to rep- resent our country in different markets and allow for in- ternational information exchange. It is not as easy as it sounds to do business in different cultures, especially in the retail sector. You need to understand the culture of your customers and employees and their way of doing business and adapt your product range accordingly. Local flavours and local cuisines are very important in food retail. And this requires an extra adaptation capability. All these are actually gaining for similar institutions doing business abroad. This experience improves us actually.
MOROCCO IS A COUNTRY WITH GREAT POTENTIAL FOR THE ISLAMIC BANKING SYSTEM. TURKEY HAS ALSO ACHIEVED GREAT SUCCESS IN THAT INDUSTRY IN RECENT YEARS. AS A BRAND, DOES YOUR ACTIVITY IN MOROCCO INCLUDE ISLAMIC BANKS?
As BİM, we do not get financing in loans. However, we do business with Islamic and conventional banks in Morocco for various reasons.
Interview: Gültuğ Erdöl