ÜÇGE is Increasing The Value of Retail

12 Şubat 2008 Salı

Üçge, that works with renown retail chains of the world, entered the year 2008 with a complete gigantic investment and a renewed machine park. We had an interview with Gökçin Aras, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Üçge which started new investment plans and challenges for world leadership in its field.

For our readers that have visited Euroshop, could you tell us the establishment story of Üçge? The meaning of Üçge is Power-Trust-Glory (note: the name of the retail chain can be translated as Three Gs and each of these words start with a G in Turkish, thus complying with the name). The fact that the vision we determined when we established this company in 1976 increased its importance is something that makes us proud. Our firm is active in field of shop equipment and storage shelves.  I started my first trade activities when I was a university student. We established a small sized business with my brother by using the salary of my father as capital. At first, we used to purchase and sell shelves. Later on, we achieved to start production after we formed a small workshop. We separated our shares of the company with my brother, so as not to experience problems when we get married.  90s were a period of enterprises  I formed a new staff in Üçge during the first months of 1990s. We removed the concept of director together with this stuff. We started working without any kind of hierarchy. This understanding gave acceleration to Üçge. We covered a lot of distance by taking fast steps, making right decisions, not waiting for opportunities and creating instead. We considered our customers as solution partners and we flourished together in everything. Our workshop in Bursa grew steadily. We built our own building. Our investment, that started with 10 thousand meter squares in Kestel Organized Industry Area, reached 30 thousand meter squares and a total number of 3 plants at the end of 1990s.  As you know, 90s were the years when the retail sector gained acceleration. We made good use of this period and signed under major projects both in Turkey and abroad. Retail giants Wanzl and Bizerba also chose Üçge as a solution partner in 90s.  We started working with Metro, one of our strongest institutional customers, during these years and improved our product diversity. We also sustained our investments in technology and plants. We focused on research, development and production planning. We received CE certificate at the end of 90s and adopted wood production. We achieved great success in exportation at the beginning of 2000s and doubled the number of countries to which we export goods. Exporting to 33 countries allowed us to survive the recession of 2001 that caused great distress in Turkey relatively lightly. In 2004, we focused on foreign Metro projects on one hand and we laid the foundation of our big investment in Bursa Organized Industry Area on the other hand. Along with this completed project, we now have a production area of 70 thousand meter squares. We constantly renewed our production technology. We also completed our investment in Steel Centre that can resize our steel raw material in the desired size at the same time as our new plant. We invest what we earn in the production sector and we keep up with technology. We even produce our own technology with the expertise of Üçge production engineers just like our power & free powder paint. The number of our employees currently reached 650.  How many companies are there in Üçge Group? Could you inform us about these? Üçge Store Equipments: Shop equipment offers the world of retail the possibility of turnkey. Fields like hypermarkets, boutiques, pharmacies, DIY stores, glassware, technology markets, house textile and alike are all included in the service scope of shop equipment. Üçge Store Equipments offers services like project drawing, production, mounting and service after sales as a whole.  Üçge Foreign Trade: organizes our exportation in 65 countries.  DRS: We have been producing the storage shelf system called highrack in our plant in Kestel on 10 thousand meter squares for years. We reorganized this plant as a separate company in 2008 upon our technology investments and capacity increase. I believe that DRS, which is one of the most dynamic and fastest building blocks of Üçge, will achieve great success.  We will reach the point we aim for storage shelf systems with this company. Our stuff, that offers industrialists product-specific projects, prepares storage projects that allow the storage of maximum number of products in a minimum space. We also conduct automatic storage shelf projects with our European solution partners which we closely follow.  Üçge Electronic: It provides POS systems at sales points as well as technical hardware. The Turkish distributor of German Bizerba which is one of the largest companies of the service sector and blazed in retail with its electronic scales is Üçge Electronic. PEBEV: Perakende Bilgi Evi is sharing our experience of 33 years with our solution partners. Along with our magazines Market, Mağaza and Lojistürk, it also follows all developments in the sector at the web site of www.perakende.org. It offers training and consultancy services for the retail sector.  What is the size of the market for shop equipment in Turkey? Where does Üçge stand in this market? What is you estimation of the growth of this market in the future?  The retail sector grows in Turkey at the rate of 30 percent. This is ten times the growth rate of Turkey. I do not mean just supermarkets when I mention the retail market. I mean textile shops and all newly opened shopping centers. This may increase about 20 percent in 2008. I think that the reason for the increase of 30 percent in the year 2007 is the lack of investments for a long time due to the recession of 2001.  We are open to growth and developmentThere has been a growth of about 10-15 percent in the shop market. There has been a serious movement in textile. There are 25 shopping centers to be opened in 2008 as far as I am concerned. The number of new shopping centers will exceed the number of 100 until 2009-2010. Let us accept the fact that 25 percent of these are popular ones. We should also keep up with this. We should be open to and ready for a minimum growth of 20 percent. This is the situation with textile shopping which means our growth target in textile shopping is 20 percent at minimum. We have carried out the necessary preparations for this target. If we express this in numbers, the numbers will be high. The amount of money that will be spent for textile shops will be about 200-350 million . This amount will be 500 million dollars for the Turkish shop market.  Turkey is investing over 1 billion dollars. There will be an investment of about 3 billion dollars in this market within 2 years. Shopping centers cost approximately 50 million dollars. As for the market of Üçge, we are always present in the market in a ratio of 50 percent.  Üçge is one of the first trademarks from Turkey that participate in Euroshop. The number of Turkish participants has been increasing since then. What has Üçge done and what connections has it established up to now? Üçge has been addressing to a global customer portfolio since 90s. We have started working with firms from different countries and cultures since 90s when foreign retailers first came. We are currently working with global companies for all businesses that are not included in the scope of our distributors. We have a complete customer portfolio of global firms in Turkey on a chain basis rather than individual firms.  Üçge has the power in the Turkish marketWe consider Euroshop as a fair which our global customers can visit and where we can meet them. We found the opportunity to know global firms better in Euroshop. We also met firms in the same field and introduced ourselves to them in this fair. We participated with high-standard meter-square space and showed them that the power in Turkey is in our hands. There is also an ongoing establishment of communication between us and numerous firms. We introduced ourselves to the world through this fair.  We became the assistance of investing retail trademarks in various parts of the world as we carry out many processes of the shop around the world with larger applications compared to firms in Europe. We are working with such a high number of firms that I cannot now list their names. Metro and Carrefour are the leading ones. As we ensure that our prices are taken as the basis in the world, we also ensured that they are supplied for lower prices.  Üçge is a powerful company that makes important moves in exportation. In how many locations on the world can we see the trademark Üçge? The number of countries Üçge imports to has increased to 65. Our exportation is 60 to 40 percent as planned. This means that we import 40 percent and supply 60 percent to the internal market. So, we should be everywhere. We care for this distribution in order to determine our risks better. Therefore, Üçge products are being used in 65 countries of the world. Üçge is known to be a world trademark in the sector of retail. Üçge bears the image of a European firm. Our products also reflect this. There has not ever been a firm that can produce the same quality shelves we produce up to now. Our goal is, certainly, to reach higher percentages of exportation. The increase in the value of the Turkish currency encourages us to sell to the internal market rather than exportation. Nevertheless, we do this by creating more suitable prices without causing any difficulty.  According to you, which direction are trends of the world retail headed to? World retail sector is constantly developing. Serious agencies have been removed. We see single points where producers and consumers meet. Removing wholesalers, distributors and suppliers, producers and consumers meet in shops. Consumers who find world trademarks in big cities now come across these trademarks in shopping centers in their own cities or even at their doors. This demand of consumers has been satisfied in the best way. Consumers, however, are not satisfied only with this. They find special retailers from Italy for themselves. They demand that the most suitable product is made available to them as soon as possible at the best price. This means that service will change a little more in current shopping. Retailers also have to evaluate this in the best way and offer service.   You have recently opened a gigantic production plant in Bursa. Will Üçge continue to make investments of this type in the future? Are there other innovations you plan for plants, new products and the future? As our market developed, we also should keep up with the growth of 30 per cent in the market. We should be a step ahead from this development as Üçge. We should increase the number of products that apply to the customer. This means that we should develop in accordance with their needs without waiting for them to come and mention their demands. The recession of the year 2001 implied that the number of investments should be low. We, nevertheless, have been making serious investments until 2004. Today this plant we are in is built on a space of 40 thousand meter squares. We approximately have a closed space of 70 thousand meter squares along with the other facilities we have. We will ensure that our highrack group develops on a space of 10 thousand meter squares in Mustafa Kemal Paşa. We will catch up with the time. We used to have only 20 thousand meter squares of production space in the year 2002. Along with our new investment in Mustafa Kemal Paşa, we will reach a production space of 80 thousand meters squares in 2008. We are getting our investments ready in 50 percent. We are preparing ourselves for the next years. This lights our path with our customer portfolio. We generally produce products of retailers that address to A and A B groups. We are considered to be the best applier as we have adapted to this situation in a very short time. 

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