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Accelerating the country’s economic engine as the backbone of modern Malaysian retail

From its humble beginnings in Japan, the leading general merchandise store and supermarket chain, AEON CO. (M) BHD. or AEON, has come a long way since its arrival on Malaysian shores in 1984.

Founded originally as JUSCO by its three principal founders Takuya Okada, Kazuichi Futagi, and Jiro Inoue, the JUSCO abbreviation was a reference to the name Japan United Stores Company constituted in 1969 in Japan.

Its rich legacy in Malaysia can be traced back to its inaugural roots as JAYA JUSCO Dayabumi in Kuala Lumpur which opened in June 1985, followed by the second outlet known as JAYA JUSCO Taman Tun Dr Ismail which opened in December that same year.

Fast forward to four decades later, AEON today rightfully celebrates 40 years of significant retail footprint in the country with a large network of brands and stores. But more than its indelible presence, AEON has gone on to shape how the country’s modern retailing could and would look like - for the last 40 years after it first set out to do so.

In revolutionising customers’ shopping experience and journey, AEON sought to offer a diverse range of best-in-value products and quality service to customers through various engagement initiatives being organised. Guided by its Customer First compass and philosophy, AEON believes that its enduring commitment to innovation, excellence, and customer-centricity are recipes for its four decades of success.

AEON Managing Director, Naoya Okada encapsulated the growth of the company from a modest operation of just 300 employees during its initial days, to now a dynamic organisation that has 10,000 people within its employment nationwide. The company’s market capitalisation which surpassed RM1.5 billion during its anniversary in February 2024 has further affirmed its position as a premier and leading retailer of choice for Malaysian consumers.

“We are pleased to have started 2024 on a high note, based on our Q1 financial performance that registered a 51% growth in Profit After Tax. Both our retail and property management segments also achieved higher revenue with a 5% increase in Q1 compared to the same quarter of 2023.

Just last year too, AEON recorded a net profit of RM114.8 million and in its 39th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held recently, the shareholders approved the distribution of a final dividend of 4 sen per ordinary share for the year ended 31 December 2023. The total amount payable of RM56.2 million would represent a payout ratio of 49% of our profit for the year," said Okada.

“To commemorate our 40-year milestone in February, we celebrated with 400 of our esteemed business partners, who were all vital to the success of AEON over the decades till today.

“Our pledge is to continuously uphold our ingrained DNA, that is by committing to the highest standards of quality and service to be the top-of-mind destination for customers.”

As its next 40th-anniversary gesture of thanking customers, AEON is presently having a special roadshow called ‘Senyum Tour’ that was launched back in February. It kicked off on 27 April at AEON Mall Bukit Tinggi; as part of its grand anniversary commemoration, shoppers get to participate in an exciting contest to stand a chance of winning fantastic prizes. There will be four renditions of the contest revolving around the theme of four seasons – spring, autumn, summer and winter – which will also be reflected in the vibes across all of its malls throughout the year. Lucky winners will have the chance to win a grand prize of a trip to Japan worth RM14,000 for each contest.

For anime fans, AEON will also be featuring four all-time favourite anime characters namely One Piece, Jujutsu Kaizen, Spy X Family and Demon Slayer. The AEON J Cup Noodles are also available on shelves in three delightful flavours - these are AEON’s first private brand economy cup noodles that were first introduced in Japan in 1974.

Additionally, shoppers can expect rewards like exciting discounts, special promotions, exclusive redemptions, and a myriad of engaging activities at all AEON malls, which promises a wonderful experience for all ages and generations. AEON is not about to rest on its laurels. Several upcoming stores are in the pipeline for 2025, which includes a new mall, a store, and a specialty store to be opened in KL midtown. Its 35th store was just opened in Setia City Mall, Setia Alam, earlier this March, bringing the total to 35 AEON stores in addition to its tally of 28 malls, 3 MaxValu branches, 4 MaxValu Prime Supermarkets, 62 AEON Wellness and 44 DAISO outlets nationwide under its AEON retail umbrella.

AEON will soon target the high-end city centre crowds and capture more community footfalls in catering to a higher population mix. Plans are also underway for several identified stores and malls to receive facelifts, namely AEON IOI Mall Puchong, AEON Ipoh Station 18, AEON Tebrau City and AEON Bukit Indah, Johor.

A key differentiator to AEON’s value-add as a retailer is its efforts in championing sustainability.

The sustainable act is evident in its installation of solar power panels across 10 of its malls so far, with more on the way.

Other efforts include the PET bottles recycling awareness programme across 15 of its malls in partnership with third parties, the completed installation of 10 EV charging infrastructures at 10 AEON malls with more being planned, and the resourceful creation of new reusable bags made from recycled plastic bottles (rPET) in refreshing the zero plastic bags campaign.

“We are proud that our sustainable initiatives are not just a true reflection of our dedication and responsibility to the environment but have contributed to forging lasting relationships with our customers,” said Okada, adding that it’s important for customers to always receive the best from AEON hence staying consistent to its values of excellence and innovation is what matters.

Okada is also delighted to announce one of AEON’s growth strategies called the AEON Living Zone, an integrated ecosystem comprising AEON Group entities and partners. In adapting to changes in its operating landscape, this strategy ensures that AEON is on the same page with the latest retail and market trends. By prioritising agility and the ability to pivot its business to better serve evolving customer and tenant partners’ demands, the synergy created allows AEON to offer optimal customer experience that leverages data analysis and insights into customers’ purchasing behaviours at each of its entities.

One of the first methodologies to be deployed is integrating the loyalty point system across AEON Companies using a unified customer ID for seamless interactions and personalised experience. Product innovation and technology development are other key methodologies to improve not only customers’ shopping experience but also a holistic destination for entertainment, wellness, and sustainability.

“By creating smiles and connecting hearts, we ensure that the well-being and satisfaction of customers are prioritised so that they feel secure, safe, and happy while shopping with us.”

“Since setting up our establishment here in Malaysia, we are deeply appreciative to the Malaysian government for their early faith in our humble company, inviting us to bring about transformative changes to the local retail scene. We wish to also record our sincere thanks to our business partners and customers for their unwavering support and patronage over the past 40 years,” concluded Okada.


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