GMG is a Dubai-based company with distribution rights for more than 120 global brands in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, and a portfolio of multi-brand retail chains across sports, food and beauty. It recently opened its first corporate office in Singapore, marking a significant milestone in the company’s expansion strategy. Since entering Southeast Asia in 2020, GMG has opened 31 stores in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. These include stand-alone stores for brands, such as Nike, Co
Columbia Sportswear, Timberland and Vans, as well as multi-brand stores for its retail chains Sun & Sand Sports (SSS) and Royal Sporting House (RSH). Now, GMG is looking to expand the presence of SSS in Southeast Asia, having opened the first store in Singapore in May, with one more in Malaysia coming soon. GMG plans to open 11 SSS stores – and 100 new stores overall – in Southeast Asia by 2025. The current state of affairs GMG’s CEO Mohammad A. Baker outlined several key factors that influenced the decision to establish its corporate office in Singapore. “Singapore’s strategic location in Southeast Asia, stable business environment, and robust infrastructure were instrumental in our choice. With an existing presence in Singapore and a commitment to the Southeast Asian market, this office symbolises our dedication to delivering unparalleled experiences and services to customers in the region,” he told Inside Retail. This move also enhances the company’s ability to serve Southeast Asian consumers. “Both the Malaysian and Singaporean markets show immense potential and, as central hubs for our regional operations, provide efficient support for our expanding network of stores and brands. These countries share a commitment to innovation, aligning seamlessly with our long-term growth and expansion plans,” he added. GMG aims to increase its workforce by over 40 per cent in Singapore by the end of the current fiscal year. Baker believes that these new team members will play a pivotal role in enhancing brand presence, improving customer service and driving overall success. “We firmly believe that investing in our workforce is an investment in the future of GMG in Southeast Asia, as it enables us to deliver the highest standards of service and innovation to our customers,” he noted. A spate of acquisitions GMG acquired RSH in 2020, and recently expanded its Asian footprint by acquiring Nike-only stores from SUTL Corporation. Baker said that the acquisition of RSH has been instrumental in its expansion in the region. “RSH brought a wealth of local knowledge, a strong network of stores, and valuable relationships in Southeast Asia. By leveraging RSH’s experience and infrastructure, we’ve been able to establish and manage our operations across Southeast Asia more efficiently,” he said. With the recent acquisition of Nike-only stores from SUTL Corporation, GMG is well-positioned for growth. “Nike is a globally recognised and trusted brand in the sportswear market, and it perfectly complements our existing brand portfolio. This acquisition underscores our commitment to offering our customers a diverse range of high-quality products,” he explained. Moreover, he said it has enhanced the brand portfolio by introducing one of the most sought-after names in sportswear offerings. “Our strategy is not just about adding brands but ensuring we provide customers with choices and quality that meet their expectations. The acquisition of Nike-only stores from SUTL Corporation is a testament to our commitment to delivering on this promise, making GMG an even more compelling choice for sports enthusiasts and consumers in the region,” he stressed. The big picture Carl Masterman, president of sports at GMG, noted that Southeast Asia is currently witnessing a retail boom, which makes it an attractive market for global retail companies like GMG. “Its impressive growth is driven and sustained by young demographics, increasing spending power and digitally savvy consumers,” he told Inside Retail. For example, the new SSS store located in the Raffles City complex in downtown Singapore invites shoppers to put their products to the test in several exciting ‘phygital’ zones spread throughout the store. According to Masterman, the stores aim to address specific market needs and gaps in Singapore and Southeast Asia. “Our goal is to provide a one-stop destination for quality sports and outdoor gear, ensuring customers have access to top-tier products and the latest trends,” he added. The company aims to cater to a broad customer base, offering everything from performance-oriented sportswear to casual and lifestyle products, ensuring there’s something for everyone. The future According to Statista, the sports and outdoor segment in the Southeast Asian market is projected to reach US$38.75 billion in 2023. Masterman believes that to capture a share of this market, GMG needs to be focused on putting consumers first by offering a comprehensive retail experience, combining the appeal of well-known international brands with the expertise of its local teams. “We plan to adapt to market trends, leverage our brand portfolio, and collaborate with key partners to meet the evolving demands of consumers in the region,” he said. He noted that creating a fun and engaging customer experience is central to its strategy in the Southeast Asian market. “We aim to make shopping for sports and outdoor products an enjoyable and interactive experience. This includes immersive in-store experiences, customer-centric services, and personalised offerings,” he added. With the rise of Gen Z consumers, Masterman thinks that technology and digital platforms will play a pivotal role in GMG’s future in Southeast Asia. “We plan to invest in e-commerce, mobile apps, and digital marketing to enhance the customer journey. Additionally, we’ll explore innovative technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to provide immersive online shopping experiences and engage with our customers in exciting new ways,” he concluded.