In February 2022, Andy Chin, vice president for marketing of Asian home improvement retailer Mr. DIY and recently appointed CEO of the chain’s Thailand operations, announced in a press statement that the company plans to expand in Europe.
The announcement, rare in that an actual confirmation of its journey across the Mediterranean Sea was made by the notoriously private business group and unusual in that it was mentioned as an aside in a statement focused on Thailand’s expansion plans for the year, was the first – and so far, only – one that was made by the upper echelons of the home improvement chain that has pervaded Southeast Asia.
It was also belated, coming two months after Mr. DIY Spain, the company’s maiden venture into the European Union, announced its establishment through a LinkedIn account and a few days after the first Mr. DIY outlet in Talavera de la Reina (Toledo) opened its doors to the public.
The Malaysian-born home improvement retailer’s European foray via Spain was not entirely unexpected; in March 2021, DIY International broke the news that Mr. DIY, which is already ubiquitous in Southeast Asia – having a presence not just in Malaysia and Brunei, but also in Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, and even India – was eyeing a Turkey opening by October of the same year. It was only logical for the company that is already everywhere in its home region to use the country that straddles both Asia and Europe as a launching pad to enter the customs union with a population of 447 million.
Going into new markets is characteristic of the way the company does business. Adrian Ong, CEO of the listed Malaysian unit of the group, has said that new store openings, along with raising same store sales, is the first of the group’s three-pronged business strategy (the other two are delivering value to customers and cost control). In Malaysia, which is its home market and its biggest operation, Mr. DIY has 815 eponymous stores as of this writing.
Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines
In Thailand – a country with its own stable of strong organic home improvement retailers, including HomePro, Siam Cement Group-backed Siam Global House, and Dohome – it has 418 outlets, while in Indonesia, Mr. DIY operates in 347 locations – more than the 216 outlets of Ace Indonesia, the dominant home improvement retailer in the country. In the Philippines, also a market with its own supply of strong local and international home improvement brands, it has 216…