GMG plans to double its workforce by 2025 with new global strategy


October 25, 2021 | By RetailME Bureau

Following its expansion into Asia at the end of 2020, GMG has announced that it aims to double its global workforce by 2025 as it embarks on a new corporate strategy. The strategy includes a restructuring of its existing business units and the unveiling of a new brand identity, reiterating its objective to promote healthier and more active lifestyles through its products and services.

Mohammad A. Baker, Deputy Chairman and CEO of GMG, has confirmed that its future investments will be focused on improving people’s lives through active living, nutritious food, and good health. The company will reflect these investments in four business verticals: GMG Sports, GMG Food, GMG Health, and GMG Consumer Goods.

GMG’s investments in these verticals are also a strategic move to support the UAE’s vision to encourage healthy and positive lifestyles across the nation, as outlined in plans such as Vision 2021 and the UAE Centennial Plan 2071.

“We recognize that communities and governments around the world are striving to progress sustainable development goals that are often anchored in personal well-being,” notes Baker. “Meanwhile, the industries we operate in are experiencing significant disruption, whether through climate change, rapid digitalization, or other forces. We are therefore setting a new purpose-centric vision for GMG to inspire people to win in ways that make the world better, daring ourselves and others to develop better products and experiences that change lives. This is not just about the sustainability of our own business, but also of the communities we serve.”

The company already has a diverse portfolio of brands across these sectors and has introduced more than 120 brands into its markets over the last four decades. As a dominant player in the sports retail category, this has included representing international brands such as Nike, Vans, The North Face, Columbia, and many more. In the food sector, the company is both a food manufacturer under GMG Food, and a distributor for popular food brands such as McCain, Mama Sita’s, and Shan under its GMG Consumer Goods vertical. The company has also created many successful home-grown concepts, including Sun & Sand Sports—now the Middle East’s largest sports retailer–as well as Supercare pharmacies, the Farm Fresh food brand, and others.

GMG currently employs around 7,000 people in 12 countries across the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. Speaking to the company’s long-term ambitions, Baker asserts that: “Whether through acquiring new international brands, developing homegrown concepts, or entering new markets, I see a future in which GMG can have a presence in every major market around the world.”

Opportunity for Growth

GMG’s announcement comes at a time when the size of the global wellness market—considered a subset of the wider “well-being” concept—has expanded considerably in recent years. McKinsey & Company has estimated the global wellness market at more than USD1.5 trillion with annual growth of five to 10 percent as consumers view wellness across dimensions such as better health, fitness, nutrition, appearance, and more. Experts also cite the increasing prevalence of chronic lifestyle diseases as driving the growth of the global wellness market.

In the GCC in particular, governments have formulated policies to enhance awareness about healthier lifestyles, resulting in what analysts say are immense growth opportunities for the sector. In parallel, national strategies continue to promote greater food security, with more sustainable and nutritious food supply chains contributing to community wellness.

Amidst this environment, GMG’s expansion on the world stage has accelerated in recent years, and particularly over the last 12 months. Its acquisition of multi-brand sports retailer Royal Sporting House in December 2020 marked the company’s first expansion into Asia. In April 2021, GMG extended its long-time presence in Saudi Arabia with a new headquarters office and mega-warehouse facility located in Riyadh.

“In many ways, we still act like a large startup—believing that nothing is not achievable,” concludes Baker. “We are an organization that is always on the move and always looking to do what is next.”

The company remains a family-owned business with its global headquarters located in Dubai, UAE. Just as its home market of the UAE has been transformed over the past 40 years, GMG has witnessed radical transformation, expanding from a single butcher’s shop founded by GMG Chairman Abdul Aziz Hassan Baker in 1978 to become one of the Middle East’s leading family-owned conglomerates.

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