Hap­pier Em­ploy­ees Make Happy Cus­tomers

Naresh Ku­mar Bhaw­nani, Founder and Chair­man of the West Zone Group talks about his early vi­sion for the com­pany and how it’s de­vel­oped.

Forbes Middle East - - COVER STORY -

Ex­celling at re­tail business, in­creas­ing our cus­tomers’ hap­pi­ness and en­hanc­ing their shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence—we are all set to bring out the best in the su­per­mar­ket ex­pe­ri­ence and rev­o­lu­tion­ize our agenda. We hope to en­hance the ease and com­fort in which our cus­tomers can shop with us, thereby driv­ing an in­cred­i­ble cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence that can sup­port our am­bi­tion to en­ter the global mar­ket very soon.

Sat­is­fied cus­tomers are the only way to have a ma­jor last­ing im­pact in any in­dus­try, and West Zone is my way of bring­ing warmth and smiles into peo­ple’s lives. I al­ways dreamt of bring­ing the ul­ti­mate shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence to life, where busi­nesses thrive hand-in-hand with cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion, and where in­ter­na­tional stan­dards meet the ease of be­ing in your sur­round­ings. West Zone was es­tab­lished with the aim of be­ing a one-stop shop for in­ter­na­tional and niche prod­ucts.

I wanted to cre­ate a store that would cater to all the needs of a cus­tomer, meet in­ter­na­tional stan­dards and be sim­ple enough for cus­tomers to re­late to—this is how West Zone came into be­ing. West Zone stores have been per­ceived dif­fer­ently; each store serves the re­quire­ment of the im­me­di­ate neigh­bor­hood, keep­ing in mind the sur­round­ing res­i­dents. Cus­tomer de­light, sup­plier sat­is­fac­tion and em­ployee chal­lenge are the val­ues that make up the fab­ric of West Zone. Fo­cus is placed on

con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ments, con­stantly in­tro­duc­ing new con­cepts to en­hance the pos­i­tive shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence in our stores.

In 2006, I no­ticed a change in buy­ing pat­terns in the U.A.E., with a dras­tic shift to­wards malls. Fam­i­lies of dif­fer­ent na­tion­al­i­ties would pre­fer to go out shop­ping, dine-in at restau­rants with multi-cui­sine food courts, visit hy­per­mar­kets and movies for en­ter­tain­ment, all un­der one roof. That’s when the con­cept of In All-Mall clicked and re­sulted in the open­ing of our first mall in Mizhar, which has since grown tremen­dously to prove the business in­vest­ments at par.

We started leas­ing the spa­ces in our malls and hy­per­mar­kets from Oc­to­ber 2017. We are now an of­fi­cial real es­tate, build­ing and con­tract­ing com­pany, with many projects op­er­a­tional and in the pipe­line, in­clud­ing Mizhar Mall, West Zone Mall- Mizhar, West Zone Mall in Al Khail Com­mu­nity and West Zone Mall in Ja­bel Ali.

The malls com­bine the knowl­edge of the ex­pec­ta­tions of an in­ter­na­tional con­sumer and the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket sce­nario in lo­cat­ing, de­sign­ing, plan­ning and man­ag­ing re­tail en­vi­ron­ments. The malls have a care­fully thought out mix of re­tail­ers pro­vid­ing op­ti­mum choice to the con­sumer in shop­ping, en­ter­tain­ment, food and leisure.

The Mid­dle East’s real es­tate sec­tor is closely linked to its econ­omy, with the in­dus­try con­tribut­ing heav­ily to growth. Over the last two decades, the re­gion has be­come worl­drenowned for erect­ing ar­chi­tec­tural master­pieces such as: the Burj Khal­ifa, the world’s tallest tower; Palm Jumeirah, a com­pletely man-made is­land off the coast of Dubai; and the Jed­dah Tower, which is cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion in Saudi Ara­bia. The re­gion has also emerged at the fore­front for adapt­ing proptech—an emerg­ing field that im­ple­ments the use of tech­nol­ogy in real es­tate to pro­duce the best re­sults. Home­grown com­pa­nies such as Bayut and Prop­er­tyfinder have bagged mul­ti­ple rounds of big-ticket fund­ing from global in­vestors, in­di­cat­ing the strength of the lo­cal prop­erty mar­ket. Look­ing ahead, mega events such as the Expo 2020 and the FIFA World Cup in 2022 are ex­pected to fur­ther brighten the out­look of the mar­ket by buoy­ing real es­tate sales while sup­port­ing the hospi­tal­ity sec­tor.

Keep­ing this in mind, Forbes Mid­dle East has com­piled its Real Es­tate 100 list for 2019, com­pris­ing of four cat­e­gories: top listed com­pa­nies; un­listed com­pa­nies; RE­ITs; and con­sul­tants.

The Top Listed Real Es­tate Com­pa­nies in the Mid­dle East rank­ing fea­tures the top 50 real es­tate com­pa­nies listed on the re­gion’s stock ex­changes, ranked by mar­ket value as of Oc­to­ber 21st 2019. We mul­ti­plied the share price on that day by the to­tal num­ber of is­sued shares.

The Top 30 Un­listed Com­pa­nies in the Mid­dle East list was com­piled us­ing data gath­ered through ques­tion­naires and in­for­ma­tion avail­able, third-party con­sul­tants, and other di­rect sources. The list was put to­gether based on:

• Past record of de­liv­ery of projects in terms of area, value and re­li­a­bil­ity.

• Fu­ture projects in terms of area as well as es­ti­mated value of projects un­der con­struc­tion.

• Age of the com­pany.

• Ed­i­to­rial points.

The Top 10 RE­ITs in the Mid­dle East were ranked on to­tal net as­set value (NAV), which was cal­cu­lated by mul­ti­ply­ing the NAV per unit by the to­tal num­ber of units. If the NAV per unit was not avail­able, the NAV given in the lat­est fi­nan­cial re­port was used.

For the 5 Lead­ing In­ter­na­tional Con­sul­tants and 5 Lo­cal Real Es­tate Con­sul­tants we con­sid­ered:

• The age and rep­u­ta­tion of the com­pany.

• Part­ner­ships and agree­ments with de­vel­op­ers.

• Re­search re­ports and pub­li­ca­tions.

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