Brunei cooperative aims to open 200 convenience stores by 2035

BELAIT, BRUNEI (The Brunei Times/ANN) - The Brunei Darussalam Village and Mukim Cooperative (KOKAMI), one of the country’s biggest cooperatives, is eyeing to set up 200 convenience stores nationwide by 2035.

The Brunei Darussalam Village and Mukim Cooperative (KOKAMI), one of the country’s biggest cooperatives, is eyeing to set up 200 convenience stores nationwide by 2035.

This developed following the opening of its second convenience store last week.

KOKAMI Chairman Pg Hj Mohd Salleh Pg HJ Kamaluddin said the cooperative, established in 2007 and which has over 12,000 members, plans to open one convenience store for every village in the sultanate.

The cooperative is currently operating two convenience stores, branded as K-Mart Rakyat, translating to ‘The People’s Store’, in Serusop and in Kuala Belait, west of the capital Bandar Seri Begawan.

“Convenience stores are viable, profitable model for mass expansion because the items being sold will be needed by any member of the public living in the community,” said Pg Hj Mohd Salleh.

The chairman said any KOKAMI member can buy a stake in the K-Mart brand for a set price share that correspondingly increases for every store opened.

“When we had one branch the share price was 10 cents. Now it’s 20 cents as we have two stores. And so when the 10th branch opens the price per share will have gone up to a dollar,” he said.

Pg Hj Mohd Salleh said shares bought in K-Mark Rakyat are for the collective brand of stores, and not shares for specific store branches.

“This means that if you’ve bought one share back when we had only one store it would’ve cost 10 cents and by the time we successfully manage to open a 10th store, that share will be worth a dollar,” Pg Hj Mohd Salleh said.

To attract more investments into K-Mart, the chairman is actively promoting the brand to KOKAMI members. He’s also encouraging more people to join the cooperative so that they can invest in K-Mart.

Joining the cooperative costs a dollar, which is worth one KOKAMI share. Membership is restricted to citizens and permanent residents above 18 years old.

The chairman said in-line with the cooperative organisational philosophy of sharing wealth, each KOKAMI member can only purchase 10,000 shares. This will prevent any member from holding a controlling share.

However, there is no share limit for KOKAMI members looking to invest into the K-Mart brand, as its finances are run and managed separately from the cooperative.

“The idea to have a chain of community owned retail stores is a concept that has been successfully introduced regionally as well as internationally. So we are pushing for the idea in Brunei for the benefit and mutual gain of all involved,” he said.

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