INTERNATIONAL. HalMart, Malaysia's first integrated halal retail outlet, said it plans to open 100 overseas outlets within the next two years, through franchises and a licensing programme.
This week, the chain incorporated two licensees from Indonesia and Brunei, and is currently in talks with parties from the Middle East and Europe. The company said,: "We hope HalMart will be in operation in these countries within the first year itself. We have received tremendous demand from overseas to open outlets there."
Meanwhile, about eight HalMart outlets have been planned to open locally over the next two years. Glohex, which is a consultancy firm specialising in the management of halal trading, initiated HalMart with the support of the Ministry of Entrepreneur and Co-operative Development (MECD), the Malay Indigenous People's Trust Council (Mara) and Small and Medium Industries Development Corp.
Deemed to be the first halal supermarket of its kind in the world, HalMart's prototype store will be opened by the first quarter next year in Pulai Perdana Johor Baru, Malaysia's second-largest city.
MECD Minister Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin said HalMart's prime focus is to set up outlets in the international market and act as a platform to market products produced by local halal food manufacturers.
"The first store is being set up in Johor Baru to draw the Singaporean market," he said at the launching ceremony of HalMart in Kuala Lumpur this week.
Using HalMart as a hub to grow, MECD has said it will provide the training and financial packages to assist local halal manufacturers.
Since HalMart is open to international halal suppliers as well, Khaled said local halal producers should ensure their products meet international halal requirements. So far, 211 local entrepreneurs, manufacturing 50 different products, have signed up to be HalMart's suppliers.