The Bestway story began in 1956 when Sir Anwar Pervez, OBE H Pk, arrived in UK to further his education and to seek pastures new. He made his abode in Bradford and tried his hand at various jobs. He worked very diligently in whatever assignments he had opted for. An ambitious spirit in search of perfection, he was conscious of his wide vision and fertile imagination that needed a larger canvas for his socio-economic endeavours. He could not do justice to his talents by working for others and was in constant pursuits of creating his own realm in the business world.
Devotion, long and tireless hours of work enabled him to accumulate enough initial capital to launch his own modest business. In 1963 he established his first convenience store “Kashmir” in London’s Earls Court. Among many of his firsts and in keeping with the demand of the Muslim community in particular, he pioneered the availability of halal meat and other halal food products. His visionary step brought instant recognition from a large number of Pakistani and other Muslim residents in and around West London.
Sir Anwar, however, was not the entrepreneur who would confine his ventures to a limited field. He was committed to fulfilling the requirements of all his customers regardless of their race, religion or economic background therefore he took the strategic decision to enter the mainstream retail market.
His enterprising approach in business management based on high-class service to consumers brought him rich dividends. Backed by a team of dedicated associates, his business prospered and expansion continued. By early seventies he had 10 well-stocked convenience stores in and around West London, popular among those consumers who sought hassle free service within the comfortable and manageable reach of their pockets.
Prosperity and profits were not his only priorities. A man of ideas that he is and disillusioned with the then prevailing system of trade, he opted to introduce an altogether novel concept in retail business to save it from the ever-increasing squeeze of the wholesalers who were charging a high margin of profit; of between 10% and 12%. He could visualise that the independent retailers had no chance of survival in the face of high margin policy of the wholesalers and the ever-growing network of big supermarket chains.
Sir Anwar and his team explored the possibility of entering the wholesale market themselves; in other words to take the bull by the horns. He initiated an innovative approach for challenging its hegemony over prices by introducing the concept of lower operating margin. It became evident that a 4% margin would still enable the business to operate profitably and at the same time, the independent retailers will be able to narrow the gap between the prices in the local community stores and the big supermarkets. His brave new strategy and unique trading style ultimately changed the face of the wholesale sector in the UK forever. This also helped in stemming the decline of local community stores in the 1970s and 1980s in the UK.
Non-availability of suitable sites and reluctance of the banks to fund his cash and carry venture posed as stumbling blocks. However, Sir Anwar and his founder directors were determined not to see their dream floundered due to non-availability of bank funding. They combined their individual resources to the extent of re-mortgaging their homes. While this satisfied the financial problem, they had to surmount the suppliers’ reluctance to offer usual credit terms. Their dauntless determination subsequently led to the growth of the business, which in turn led to the rise in credibility and reliability of the company. It opened closed doors to them and the usual standard trading terms were eventually offered. Ultimately the banks were also impressed with the company’s financial performance and were comfortable in offering banking facilities. Sir Anwar’s perseverance had finally borne fruits.