JEDDAH - In an extraordinary feat defying the global economic slowdown, Al Azizia Panda United Company - owner and operator of one of the largest grocery retail chains in the Gulf Cooperation Council - demonstrates anew its strength and business acumen by setting another mark for the Guinness Book of World Records and at the same time opening new stores in the Kingdom.
Tomorrow (Thursday), the biggest bottle of shampoo in the world with 4,000 liters content of “Herbal Essences” and measuring 4.8m long will be unveiled at the Hyperpanda store in Andalus Mall in Jeddah at 11 A.M. in the presence of a team from the Guinness Book of World Records who would confirm and certify the achievement.
In 2003, Panda made it to the Guinness Book by launching the biggest pyramid-shaped box with Tide.
The latest initiative is a joint effort between Ismail Abu Dawood Trading Company (the official distributor of Procter & Gamble products in Saudi Arabia) and Hyperpanda.
The launch also features the new logo and look of the shampoo that comes in seven exciting essences.
The occasion will definitely bring a lot of excitement to consumers, in which various activities are lined up for kids with bountiful prizes at stake ranging from 10 sets of jewelries for ladies to gift certificates for lady’s spa and shopping certificates.
In another manifestation of taking the lead in the industry, Al Azizia Panda will also open tomorrow (Thursday) another store in Rakkah, Al-Khobar following the launch on Monday of a new store in Khamis Mushyat named “Khamis Avenue.”
Dr. Mohammad Amin Kashgari, president and chief executive officer of Al Azizia Panda United Co, told the Saudi Gazette that the company plans to open 10-15 stores (both hyper and super) next year. Currently, it has 97 stores in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, out of which 22 are hypermarkets, with 15 of them in Saudi Arabia.
He said Al Azizia Panda will continue its “aggressive growth” delivered in three years, with the opening of 12 new stores this year.
The company’s goal is to put up 100 Panda supermarkets and 30 hypermarkets in 2010, he added.
Kashgari attributed its success to Al Azizia Panda’s corporate motto of “always fresh, always for less” which is a reflection of the company’s uncompromising commitment to always give the best to its customers. He said Al Azizia Panda “continues to be number one in price perception and in value for money.”
On the impact of the present global economic slowdown, Kashgari said on the contrary, it turns out to be positive for the company since “food being a necessity, customers prefer to buy them from the stores and cook at home,” rather than eating outside at a restaurant or any food shop. The shift in attitude brought about by dire economic situation increases Al Azizia Panda’s sales, he noted.
He admitted, however, that the financial straits also negatively affected the company though “not really that big” as Al Azizia Panda “offers the best prices and best quality not only for food items but even for general merchandise as well, such as electronic products and appliances.”
What was known as Al Azizia at the outset when it was established in 1979, it grew to become Al Azizia Panda in 1993 with the purchase of Panda Supermarkets. Al Azizia Panda United acquired Giant Stores in 2008 and merged it into its operations. The company intends to change all 18 Giant stores into Al Azizia Panda chain of hypermarkets and supermarkets “very soon”, he said.
Al Azizia Panda United Company is a subsidiary of Savola Group.
Kashgari is also the CEO of the retail sector of Savola Group.