IN A vibrant economy, most companies do well, but they would be fighting for a slice of the same pie.
However, when things are less than encouraging, it is those who are committed to innovation and adaptable to change which will still perform well.
One such company is Courts Asia Limited, having weathered through the storm of a soft retail landscape last year and recorded a year-on-year revenue increase of S$20.3mil (RM60.6mil), a 16.8% growth in net profit for FY2016, compared with S$17.4mil for FY2015 (financial year ending March).
The new Courts Megastore in Sri Damansara uses large hanging panels at the furniture hall to effectively relay promotions without taking up space.
Courts Malaysia’s contribution to the Group was 32.3%, as the company performed admirably, staying focused on enhancing value and productivity despite the introduction of the GST.
Its initiatives paid off as it recorded a year-on-year revenue of 11.7% to RM721mil for FY2016, compared with FY2015.
Sales per sq ft also increased 11.3% from RM373 in FY2015 to RM415 in FY2016.
“We have been in Malaysia for 29 years and it (Courts Malaysia) continues to be a key growth driver for us.
“The tough external environment has made it even more critical for us to continuously put our foot to the pedal to drive innovation and productivity in our new financial year, while keeping a close eye on evolving retail and shopping dynamics.
“Our initiatives for this year include a refreshed experience at our Sri Damansara Megastore, a deeper foray into the digital space to further our multi-channel strategy and the appointment of a new Brand Ambassador,” stated Courts Asia Limited group chief operating officer and Acting Country chief executive officer of Courts Malaysia Tim Luce.
Last year, the company built further its brand affinity by appointing its first Brand Ambassador, comedy king Harith Iskandar; refurbished seven stores including Courts Setapak; and expanded the store’s footprint by opening four new stores.
Harith Iskander and Lisa Surihani are the brand ambassadors for Courts Malaysia’s ‘Memang Senang’ campaign.
It also pushed forward its digital agenda by improving product offering and introduced a special collaboration with designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen.
For FY2017, Luce shared the company’s plans to fortify both its brick-and-mortar and online strategies which include enhancing customer experience with the first next generation store in Courts Megastore in Sri Damansara, opening six more new stores by this year end and strengthening online product choices, and rolling out the second phase of its brand campaign “Memang Senang” with the appointment of another Brand Ambassador, Lisa Surihani.
The new Courts Megastore in Sri Damansara has chalked up many firsts for the company, allowing a more intuitive and immersive retail experience. From its clean and contemporary lines with wooden floor panels, sleek black room dividers and new lighting design, to the more efficient use of space and easy store navigation, the new store is set to stimulate a whole new shopping experience for customers.
“Space is premium (in the Klang Valley) and the new store has been designed in such a way to help us get more out of the space available to us,” elaborated Luce.
This was made possible through clever use of display spaces which can easily be expanded or contracted to suit different promotions, thanks to the use of a modular display system based on “universal” tables”, the first of its kind in Malaysia.
“We have in-store posters, which make use of magnetic panels or are hung from the ceiling.
“These are great space-savers and more efficient as they can easily be removed.
“These initiatives aim to increase staff productivity and allow for better customer service delivery,” he added.
The store is also a dedicated service beacon for digital and mobile products to help enhance value with end-to-end solutions.
Renowned sports retailer Decathlon opened in Courts Megastore since May, offering more than 95,000 sports accessories for 60 types of sports.
“This is a strong partnership as Decathlon has a similar target market and it gives customers another reason to shop at our store.
“We have to constantly innovate to keep up and stay relevant.
“This mindset was the impetus behind our transformation of Courts Megastore in Sri Damansara, that’s positioned as a one-stop retail entertainment centre, thanks to tenants with complementary product offering,” said Luce, acknowledging that consumers today shop quite differently and are more savvy.
The Megastore will also serve as a test bed for the next generation store format.
Based on consumer response, Courts will then evaluate whether the concept should be adopted at other stores as well.
Courts soft launched its e-store last November and will be investing an additional 40% more in its digital programme to look into expanding product offering to 5,000 by this year end to increase online presence.
“We are also looking into a mobile app and hope to grow digital revenue from 2% to 5%.
“In Singapore, the ‘click and collect’ system is already in place.
Luce says Courts is looking into developing a new app to help grow digital revenue from 2 to 5.
“However, as a retailer, we are more concerned about maintaining relationships so Courts online will serve more as additional sales assistants and shopping guide.
“More customers are using different channels at different stages of their shopping journey and this trend is an upward trajectory.
“Although online is still a very small part of our business today, we want to grow by increasing our online offering and integrating the new customer touch points seamlessly with our physical store,” he said.
Courts has already started on its nationwide Raya campaign featuring the two Brand Ambassadors. This includes a variety of promotional offers, underscored by the renewed Courts Price Promise that guarantees the lowest prices, combined with other benefits such as extended warranties and a refund policy.
“The market is changing; the challenge is to change the image and perception which consumers historically had of us.
“Hence, the emphasis on rebranding so that they can’t help but notice how our look is now refreshed. Furthermore, we’ve built a strong reputation for our extensive product offerings and affordability,” concluded Luce.
For updates and promotions, join Courts’ facebook page (www.facebook.com/CourtsMsia) or visit www.courts.com.my