Thailand’s Central Group plans to expand investment in Vietnam
Thai retail conglomerate Central Group is planning to expand aggressively at home and in neighboring Vietnam, hoping to tap an expected jump in demand when the COVID-19 pandemic ends, according to Nikkei Asia.
Central Retail, the group’s core retail arm, has set aside 30 billion THB (848 million USD) to invest in Vietnam, where it intends to increase sales to 100 billion THB over the next five years, up from the current 38.6 billion THB, according to its business strategy published in its annual report.
The plan matches analysts’ forecasts, which expect Vietnam’s resilient economy to keep growing after the pandemic. These forecasts see the country’s retail sector growing 9% per year to around 150 million USD.
“Central Retail has a strong presence in Vietnam, a market it entered more than 20 years ago,” a Kasikorn Research Center analyst said, as cited by Nikkei Asia. “This time it will shift its investment focus from brick-and-mortar stores to technology to expand its selling platform and gain a greater customer base.”
Central Retail has 340 malls and stores as well as 10 retail brands in Vietnam, including Go! Mall, Nguyen Kim, SuperSports and Top Market, spanning the sales of electronics, to sports wear, to groceries.
The company also has BIPBIP, an e-commerce food and grocery shopping platform that stocks more than 12,000 items and has a 12 million-strong customer base.
Central Retail hopes that its 30 billion THB investment will help it to become Vietnam’s biggest food and property retail platform.
Apart from expanding existing operations, it will also seek to buy businesses that can help to expand its reach.
The company is pushing a business strategy it calls “omnichannel” that lets online consumers choose whether to pick up their orders or have them delivered. Central Retail expects omnichannel sales to make up more than 15% of the company’s total over the next few years, up from the current 8%./.