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Dean & DeLuca grocery chain expanding in Thailand

Jul 18. 2019
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By THE NATION

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Leading property and retail firm PACE Development will halt losses at its US-based Dean & DeLuca upscale grocery stores brand by the end of the year, according to CEO Sorapoj Techakraisri.

He said the target date followed changes to the company’s costs strategy and a plan to close unprofitable shops.

"We also set plans for Dean & DeLuca’s expansion in Thailand over the next three to five years, when about 100 stores will be opened, up from 11 currently. About five new Dean & DeLuca stores will be opened locally this year," said Sorapoj.

Dean & DeLuca Inc, which manages the US operation, has been losing more than Bt40 million a month amid tough competition in the US food retail sector and higher operational costs.

"We are adjusting the Dean & DeLuca business to a more appropriate size by controlling expenditures both at its office and stores," said Surapoj, adding that two of six stores had been closed this year after failing to meet targets. The measures had cut costs by 25 per cent and would halt overall losses by the end of this year, he said.

The company has also rejigged the structure of Dean & DeLuca by splitting its business between the US and Asia, said Surapoj, adding that the move would enable the company to better monitor its business in different regions. Dean & DeLuca Inc now makes up about 35 per cent of the business, with the remaining 65 per cent accounted for by Dean & DeLuca Asia (Thailand) Ltd. Dean & DeLuca currently operates 77 stores in 12 markets, up from 42 stores in six markets when PACE bought the business in 2014.

Dean & DeLuca Asia (Thailand) posted Bt630 million in total revenue in the last fiscal year (June 2018-May 2019) and Bt115.23 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda), up 13.3 per cent over the previous year. About Bt523 million of the revenue is from Thailand, with Bt79.8 million in Ebitda, and another Bt106 million from overseas (Bt35.43 million in Ebitda).

The company also plans to launch Dean & DeLuca stores in five major Asian markets in Asia over the next couple years – China, India, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

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