THERE is no better time for traditional sundry shop entrepreneurs to jazz up their stores.
Now, those looking to modernise their traditional businesses to compete in today’s retail market have an option of 12 “mentors” to learn from instead of three like their predecessors.
The new industry players, including the Co-operative Commission of Malaysia (SKM), Giant, Aeon and Econsave, have joined Mydin, Carrefour and Tesco as consultants to impart valuable retail and business expertise to small retailers.
Sundry shop entrepreneurs also have the opportunity to obtain a loan of up to RM80,000 each, an increase of RM20,000 from the original allocation of RM60,000, to refurbish their shops.
The success of the Retail Shop Transformation Programme (Tukar) among participating sundry shops last year has boosted the Economic Transformation Programme initiative.
Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government had increased funding for Tukar, which now stands at RM100mil, after the programme exceeded its target last year.
The programme had targeted 500 sundry shops to take part each year, but as of December last year, 519 shops nationwide, including some in Sabah and Sarawak, have been successfully transformed. The Government’s ultimate goal is to transform 5,000 sundry shops by 2020.
He pointed out that a majority, if not all, of those who have gone through the programme had registered an increase of between 20% and 100% in profit.
“This is the most rewarding aspect of the Tukar programme and we hope many will soon register an increase of 200% or more in profit,” Ismail Sabri added.
He explained that the loan amount was raised following feedback from participants who said they had no capital to purchase items for their businesses after renovating their shops.
“We hope to reach our target of another 500 shops this year, which means that by the end of 2012, we will have more than 1,000 sundry shops that are modern not only in look, but also in management style,” he said, urging sundry shop owners to apply for participation in Tukar.
“The Government seriously wants to help traders improve their lives and get a better future. The soft loan we offer will not be a burden with its attractive terms.
“Furthermore, traders can obtain hands-on expertise through the consultants under the Tukar programme,” he said.
Since January, 107 sundry shops nationwide have been transformed under Tukar while another 299 hopeful applicants await approval to remodel their shops.
“We hope more entrepreneurs will come onboard the programme, especially with the attractive loan scheme which offers a 15-year repayment period at 3% interest,” said Ismail Sabri.
The Tukar programme is open to all sundry shop owners who have had their businesses for a minimum of two years, are aged between 23 and 60, and possess a valid small-retailer licence.