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Big C Supercenter eyes regional growth

Aug 04. 2016
Asawin
Asawin
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By KWANCHAI RUNGFAPAISARN

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BIG C Supercenter, under the direction of its new board of directors, is expanding its retail network into the region, starting with neighbouring Laos and Cambodia.

It will also support the group’s manufacturing and trading businesses in the region and complete the supply chain.

Chairman of Executive Committee Asawin Techajareon-vikul told The Nation on Wednesday that the company was already in Vietnam, where MM Mega Market operates 19 cash-and-carry stores.

In Vietnam, Central Group, Thailand’s retail conglomerate, has joined with local partner Nguyen Kim Group to take over Big C Vietnam from France’s Casino Group for 920 million euros (Bt36.6 billion).

Central said the acquisition reflected its strong will to keep expanding in Asia.

Big C Vietnam has 43 stores nationwide – 33 hypermarkets and 10 convenience stores – plus 30 shopping malls. Total revenue reached 586 million euros last year.

In Thailand, Big C started the year with exciting developments as in late March, Berli Jucker Group acquired Casino Group’s holding in it, Asawin said.

After the closing of the mandatory tender offer for the remaining shares in mid-May, BJC Group’s holding in Big C increased to nearly 98 per cent.

This change will further strengthen Big C’s business platform as various potential synergies have already been identified for execution over the coming years, he said.

“Big C is a good investment and retail corporation, and being a significant channel allows us to be close to individual consumers. We are harmonising the work culture, personnel and operations at Big C to be in the same direction,” he said.

The board sees tremendous opportunities to expand Big C’s retail network in Thailand’s market via its diversified retail formats, ranging from hypermarkets to smaller stores such as Big C Market and Mini Big C, or even drugstores.

The company plans to open six Big C hypermarkets this year, together with 10 Big C Markets and 70 Mini Big Cs.

The company has already opened Big C hypermarkets in Ranong and Nong Khai’s Phon Phisai district in the first half of this year.

Three Big C Markets have also opened this year in Loei’s Wang Saphung district, Nakhon Ratchasima’s Pak Thong Chai district and Kalasin’s Somdet district.

Big C Supercenter operates about 125 large-format stores (Big C Supercenter, Extra and Jumbo), 55 Big C Markets, 397 Mini Big Cs (including 164 in Bangchak service stations and three franchised stores) and 147 Pure drugstores in the Kingdom.

Big C is ready to be a cogwheel in the government’s policy to make Thailand a shopping hub in the region.

“We will provide tourists valuable information as well as a good experience about Thailand,” Asawin said.

Big C Ratchadamri is a good example, he said: It welcomes many tourists from China and Vietnam.

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