Giant operator to focus on smaller stores

KUALA LUMPUR (April 10):  The operator of the Giant brand of hypermarkets, GCH Retail (M) Sdn Bhd, will now expand by “focusing on smaller stores, in line with changes in consumer behaviour globally,” The Edge Malaysia reported this week.

“We will no longer be opening hypermarkets. We are now starting to look at growing the Giant business through smaller formats and the mini market format, which is the Giant Mini brand,” Chris Bush, Dairy Farm CEO for Southeast Asia Food told the weekly in an interview. GCH is the grocery unit of Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International Holdings.

But he also added that they “will stick to the 35 hypermarkets that GCH operates”.

The Giant Mini stores will be located in suburban areas to provide the “same convenience and value available at its larger stores but much closer to home”.

Bush explained that the main differentiator “between Giant Mini and other existing mini markets is that the latter does not usually provide a fresh food selection”.

Giant recently launched its new green, mango-shaped logo “to reflect a contemporary and modern brand and refreshed look and feel”.

“Over the last two to three years, we were not looking to grow our business because we were working on our transformation, including consolidation such as closing stores. We have also exited Sabah and Sarawak,” Bush told the business publication.

Meanwhile, Bush also said that there are still challenges ahead. “The market is even more competitive now than it was when I was last here in 2010.” Bush was CEO of Tesco Malaysia from June 2006 to June 2010.

“There are many more retail brands. Online is obviously growing. The market is not [becoming] easier, but has become more competitive.

“I am not here to fight the competitors, but to win customers. Customers will make a choice where they choose to shop and we encourage customers to shop by listening to them, responding and improving our proposition,” he added.

There are also growth opportunities in the online realm. “Currently, we are very small [in online sales]. I see this as an opportunity for growth.”

“We are today fulfilling our online orders through third-party operators like Happy Fresh. We are taking a strategic review of our online sales to understand whether we should continue with that [third-party operator], develop the capabilities ourselves to run online or do a blend of both. We are doing a very serious review of it,” Bush said.

Read the full report in this week’s The Edge Malaysia

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