CASH & CARRY

Makro helping price stability & protecting intellectual property rights

AMANULLAH BASHAR
Apr 16 - 22, 2007

Cash and carry outlets both from international chains and local companies which are getting their roots in Pakistan are really a boon for the consumers especially in the developing countries in a sense that these outlets are not only brining price stability on one hand but are also saving the consumers from fake products.

Actually, the violation of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) is one of the serious issues, especially in the developing countries like Pakistan, where they are sabotaging the genuine investors as well as hoodwinking the consumers. In simple words, consumer markets in Pakistan are flooded with fake products carrying labels of established international and local manufacturing companies.

The issue becomes more painful when the consumers are duped with adulterated food items or medicines which not only cause monetary loss but also pose serious health hazards to the consumers.

Afnan Shah Khan, Store General Manager, Makro Cash & Carry, which is the first outlet in SITE industrial area of Karachi, told Pakistan & Gulf Economist that an important feature of Cash & Carry is that it is effectively eliminating the role of middlemen, which is the root cause of adulteration and supply of fake items as well as increasing the prices of products. Makro has direct links with manufacturers as well as farm producers, which is helping the company beat price inflation to a great extent.

He said within a year of its operations in Karachi, the company has launched its second outlet in Lahore and is about to open more branches in Karachi at Airport and Saddar areas. In Lahore the outlet is located on Ravi Road and it would start functioning from 22nd June this year. The Saddar branch near Army workshop is scheduled to start business from June this year, while airport branch would hopefully go into operation by December, he said.

Actually, the store is meant to attract retailers as bulk buyers, however, a large number of end-users also visit the store and they are not discouraged because they also add value and attraction to the business spot, he added. The overwhelming response of the market in Pakistan has encouraged the management to go ahead with more branches in Faisalabad, Multan, Rawalpindi and Islamabad during this year for which land has already been acquired, he said.

A joint venture with House of Habib, which has a stake of 30 percent in this project, Afnan said that in order to facilitate the visitors, every outlet must have a bank branch within its premises for which we have already entered into an agreement with Habib-Metroplitan, while another feature of the store is ample space for car parking because in busy towns parking has become a nuisance and we don't want to add to this problem - hence prior to acquiring any space for Makro stores, the provision of parking is treated on priority basis. The Makro store in SITE is spread over 7.5 acres of land, of which a huge parking lot has been made available to the visitors.

Makro, which is operating in around 16 countries, has chosen Pakistan as a place to do business following the visit of President Musharraf to Netherlands during which he had invited Makro to establish their stores in Pakistan. Hence beginning operations in Pakistan was basically the brainchild of President Musharraf while ABN AMRO played a positive role in materializing the idea and financing arrangements in Pakistan.

Right from fresh fruits, vegetable, milk and all sorts of grocery items, we offer genuine electronic and electrical appliances, readymade garments, shoes, etc. with a complete sense of purity. They are cheaper as compared to general market prices besides an assurance of real branded products - hence this concept is helping to generate economic activity in the manufacturing side as well as helping the campaign to combat fake producers which are eroding the economic growth of any country, he added.