How Kuckreja & Co survived wars and pandemics

Established in 1946, Kuckreja & Co is one of the region's oldest sports wholesalers. The company is now a third generation family business and supplies sports equipment in and around the Southeast Asian region. TWENTY TWO 13 captures their story

By Haresh Deol | MALAYSIA |

If there is one thing Mohanjit Kuckreja has learnt throughout his 30-odd years in the business of sports, it is the ability to quickly evolve.

As such, it is no surprise that his outfit, Kuckreja & Co, turned 74 yesterday. The company has withstood the test of time – from World War II, May 13 riots to the economic downturn in the 90s.

“If you look at our history, you would realise that we have been sensitive to the demands of the market and quickly evolved. This was happening since the days of the company’s founders,” said Mohanjit.

Founded by Mohanjit’s father Tarlok Singh and uncle Teja Singh, Kuckreja & Co started out as a general retailer selling various products for the British soldiers based in Kluang, Johor.

After WWII, when they were forced to shut, Kuckreja & Co ventured into the retail and wholesale of sporting goods. And there was no turning back since.

“At one time, we brought in brands like adidas, Puma, Yoneyama (now known as Yonex), Gosen and Mikasa. Gosen badminton strings were very popular at one time,” added Mohanjit who turns 58 on Oct 15.

The business shifted its operations to Kuala Lumpur in 1990 and went on to expand its influence throughout Southeast Asia.

Mohanjit credited his brothers Sohinder Singh and Surjeet Singh for their roles in expanding the business.

“The company grew and we expanded. My brothers were part of the company’s history. While I obviously didn’t experience WWII, I witness two major economic downturns, one in the 80s and the other in the late 90s.

“Surprisingly, we didn’t suffer losses during those two episodes. Although the economy wasn’t rosy in the 80s, the government spent money on sports. In fact, our sales at that particular period were really good as we were selling products to schools. There was always a budget for school sports.

“The same thing happened in 1998. When (former Prime Minister) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad pegged the ringgit to the US dollar (at a rate of 3.80), we weren’t affected and once again, schools had budgets for sports.”

But Mohanjit said he saw a downturn in 2013.

Read full story, ‘Wars And Pandemics – Kuckreja & Co Survived It All’ (Twenty Two 13, 2 April 2020), here.



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