Visit a Malaysian mall and there is a chance you might see a Mr DIY shop. It has pretty much become a staple in many of our malls.
In July 2005, there was only a single hardware store along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. But by the end of the first year it had grown and had 3 branches.
The very first Mr DIY Store / Image Credit: Mr DIY
In just 15 years, Mr DIY has had a network of 674 stores and is the largest hardware store in Malaysia and Brunei.
One might wonder whether the aggressive expansion has caused the brand to suffer financially, on the contrary, it recorded an increase in net profit from RM 308.33 million to RM 317.57 million in fiscal year 19 compared to the previous year 14%.
On the way to the shopping malls
In an interview with The Star in 2016, Andy Chin, then Senior Marketing Manager and now Marketing VP at Mr DIY, shared that growing the business had been on track from the start.
With this in mind, they had invested in a POS (Point-of-Sale) system to enable simple and efficient expansion.
It worked, and the company grew rapidly after hitting malls in 2010.
Mr DIY's entry into shopping malls marked a new trend for the company, becoming an anchor tenant over its earlier stand-alone business model.
Since these are forged partnerships with major retailers like Tesco, Giant and Aeon, you will have a hard time finding one of these malls without a Mr DIY.
The Mr DIY stores in malls we're familiar with / Image credit: Mr DIY
Andy told The Star, "Some might say we work with the competition, but we believe we are bridging a void in their businesses."
"Our stores are a one-stop shop – everything a home needs – with the exception of groceries, which are the specialty of large retailers," he added.
Intelligent strategies show their way
Mr DIY's iconic motto is “Always Low Prices” and this is just one more factor that adds to their appeal.
In the aforementioned The Star interview, Andy showed how to stick to the motto.
“We saw successful companies in developed countries as inspiration. For example, we found that in Japan, healthy competition in the market kept prices down, which was a means of attracting customers. It was a good lesson. "
"Other strategies that we have used include buying in bulk or even committing to buy a volume, not buying on credit and doing our own logistics," he said.
The latter actually reduced their logistics costs from 5% to 1%.
Thanks to these and other strategies, the company can continue to grow at full speed even during the pandemic.
This September, Mr DIY increased the number of its stores nationwide by 33 amid the surge in wage cuts, layoffs and closings.
What is the secret behind this strong growth trend? The star looked for the answer in another interview with Andy.
He told them it was the company's ability to react quickly to market changes.
"It's usually difficult for a large company to move with that much agility because it's more conservative with a long decision-making process." Therefore, it reacts more slowly to the market. "
"We're reacting pretty quickly because we're a local brand that understands the market, so that's a key benefit of doing business in Malaysia," he added.
Use and offer opportunities
In 2017, Mr. DIY started his e-commerce business to bring offers to market that were deemed "unsuitable" for their retail stores.
This move paid off especially during the MCO as it allowed staff to be re-mobilized to fulfill online orders and continue to generate revenue.
Mr DIY's e-commerce shop
"E-commerce doesn't cover everything we sell in-store, such as fragile items, but allows us to serve a different group of customers," Andy told The Star.
With the help of the click-and-collect model, customers could order their goods online and choose from which point of sale they would like to collect the items.
As Mr. DIY is expanding his business, he needs workers. In July, the company launched a nationwide recruiting campaign with 1,000 vacancies.
Over 8,000 applications were received within two weeks, including unemployed people, new graduates and talented people from the disabled community.
By the end of this year, Mr. DIY will start another campaign to fill additional positions.
Know what people want
The hardware store retailer's rapid growth has made some wonder about self-cannibalization, but it doesn't seem to be a problem for them.
New Mr DIY stores are opened based on actual market demand, which is determined through a mixture of internal analysis of self-collected data and business acumen.
"Our market research is very extensive and is based on raw data that we collect from our activities as well as from sales."
Once we learn what works for a particular type of localized market based on location, population demographics, etc., we will generally apply the same logic to a business in an area with similar circumstances, ”Andy told The Star.
So far this has worked fine for them.
Mr TOY and Mr DOLLAR / Photo credit: Mr TOY / Mr DOLLAR
Aside from Mr DIY, the company has also branched out into other businesses, with the launch of Mr TOY in 2019, a domestic toy chain of stores now with 28 stores, and Mr DOLLAR in 2020, a dollar store concept that has everything available is RM2 or RM5.
No signs of slowing down
Mr DIY's market capitalization of RM 10 billion has made it even more valuable than Malaysia's airport operator MAS and even our national postal service provider Pos Malaysia.
The only other well-known names with a larger market cap than Mr DIY are Telekom Malaysia, Fraser & Neave Holdings, Genting, and Genting Malaysia.
The construction market now also has the largest IPO on Bursa in 3 years with the aim of raising 1.5 billion RM from its listing.
They are showing no signs of slowing down in any department and aim to have 900 stores in Malaysia and Brunei by the end of 2021.
- You can find out more about Mr DIY here.
- You can read about other iconic Malaysian brands here.
Selected image source: Mr DIY via SG Magazine