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Tuesday, 18 July 2017

(The Star) Retailer looks back on humble roots

It all began in 1967 with a small 200sq ft of space in the Weld Supermarket, Kuala Lumpur, called Weld Pharmacy, opened by Cold Storage Trading.

Four years later, the name was changed to Guardian Pharmacy to reflect the caring and protective nature of the pharmacy brand.

Its acquisition by Pan-Asian retailer The Dairy Farm Group of Hong Kong in 1999 further cemented the pharmacy chain’s market leadership.

Fast forward to 2017, Guardian Malaysia has become the nation’s leading pharmacy, health and beauty retailer.

To-date, there are 421 stores nationwide, with more new outlets set to open later this year.

To keep up with technological innovations and latest trends, Guardian launched its e-store in 2014, offering products ranging from health supplements, beauty products and personal care to general merchandise.

A year later, it rolled out a new brand identity and changed its look and logo colour from the iconic blue to an eye-catching orange hue for a more vibrant and contemporary appeal.

Guardian Malaysia celebrated its 50th anniversary with nostalgia as it hosted the relaunch of its first Guardian store with guests and media members at The Weld in Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur on Friday.



From only 200sq ft, the first Guardian store now boasts a built-up area of 1,652sq ft and sports a new look, in line with Guardian’s rebranding exercise. 



With a built-up area of 1,652sq ft, the store was refurbished to sport a new look in line with Guardian’s rebranding exercise.

Guardian Health and Beauty Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Soren Lauridsen described the brand’s journey in Malaysia as an exciting and colourful one, achieving milestone after milestone.

“One thing has remained constant, that is our commitment to give our customers a positive shopping experience every time they visit, through great variety and quality offered at competitive prices.

“These values that inspired the establishment at the start still remain at the core of our brand today,” he said.

Revenues have risen in tandem with the country’s GDP growth, and since 2016, Guardian has consistently served an average of three million customers every month, he added.

Currently, Guardian provides employment to about 3,300 Malaysians.

“We are proud that our operations and investments in the business have generated significant economic spin-offs for manufacturers, suppliers, importers and service providers, big and small,” Lauridsen added.

Moving forward, Guardian will continue to maintain its priority in ensuring that its shoppers get the best shopping experience and offers.

“Our goal is first and foremost to be a friend to our customers and to serve their needs, much like a friend whom they would turn to for health and beauty advice.

“This would involve doing research to further understand customers’ lifestyles and needs.

“It would also require a ‘Best Friend Forever’ (BFF) training programme, whereby we will send our staff from Store Support Office to the stores for three days, to better understand how to serve customers,” said Lauridsen.

The importance of certain product categories such as health, make-up and hair, Lauridsen added, have been identified, and the company is working with its partners to offer more relevant products to customers.

Guardian is running an anniversary promotion in partnership with Petron, Jotun, the Makeover Guys and Kuvings.

Shoppers stand a chance to win a home makeover package by just spending RM10 and above in a single receipt at any Guardian store, and answering three simple questions.

Customers who spend the same amount on RON 95, RON 97 or RON 100 with a valid Petron Miles Privilege Card at any Petron station will also be entitled to enter the contest. The campaign ends on Sept 7.

On another note, to give back to the community while celebrating its anniversary, Guardian Malaysia will be helping 10 charity homes nationwide, including seven orphanages, to get a makeover.

A total of RM250,000 has been set aside to help these homes with either renovation, or the purchase of furnishings and other items depending on their needs.

The project is slated for completion in six months and expected to help improve the living environment for at least 500 children.

Guardian Malaysia’s corporate social responsibility programme started in 1999, and to-date, has contributed more than RM5mil in projects and campaigns to help the society and community it serves in.

For details, visit www.guardian.com.my