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Mr. DIY’s expansion - Southeast Asia Series II

Small store, lean staff, cheap pricing allow quick expansion

The retailing giant Mr. DIY started its expansion into international markets in 2015. Now the Malaysian company is present in eleven countries in Asia and Europe. According to analysts, what factors are favouring this rapid expansion? Part two of our series on Southeast Asia
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Malaysian home improvement retailing chain Mr. DIY has been able to quickly scale up internationally because it has smaller stores, a lean workforce, and budget friendly prices for its broad product offerings, researchers said. They added that opening in strategic locations and leveraging on scale also gives the Asian powerhouse the leeway to expand faster than other home improvement retailers.

Rapid store network expansion, along with growing same store sales, is a pillar of Mr. DIY’s growth strategy. The Malaysian super brand, which had 2 500 stores at the close of 2022, is now present in eleven markets in Asia and Europe, and plans to enter a twelfth country before the end of the year.

“This aspect of compact store layouts, highly concentrated product displays, and relatively low levels of staff assistance is a key factor enabling such rapid expansion. It elucidates why Mr. DIY's expansion efforts have proven to be a notable success story thus far,” Euromonitor International Senior Research Analyst Haikal Sufiyan, and Home and Garden Industry Manager Nick Stene told DIY International.

A Mr. DIY store is typically 1 000 m² in size and costs around EUR 317 000 (MYR 1.6 mio) to open. In contrast, the Philippines’ AllHome Corp., which has stores that average 6 000 m², allocates up to around EUR 5 mio (PHP300 mio) per outlet.

Mr. DIY outlets sell up to 20 000 products across ten categories, including hardware, electrical, furnishings, and household, but also stationery and sports accessories, car accessories, toys, computer and phone accessories, gifts, and jewellery and cosmetics. The variety of products, the Euromonitor analysts said, “encourages frequent shopping visits”.

In a note published on online research platform Smartkarma, CrossAsean Research founder and analyst Angus Mackintosh observed Mr. DIY is gearing its expansion towards its smallest format -- the 200-300 m² Mr. DIY Express, which sells a selection of fast-moving products. “These stores typically provide payback within two years,” he said.

Mr. DIY’s outlets are also typically manned by five staff members or less, allowing the company to operate “with remarkable efficiency”, the Euromonitor researchers said.

The price points of Mr. DIY, which built its brand around the motto “Always Low Prices” are also an impetus for its expansion because they draw customers who increasingly want more bang for their buck. The company has been strengthening its white label product offerings to cater to this shift…

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