Cambodia to get two new Makro stores in 2022: CEO

Thai discount wholesaler Siam Makro Pcl plans to spend 11 billion baht ($330 million) this year to expand its operations, and open two new Makro stores in Cambodia, 30 in Thailand and three in India, hoping to tap into soaring demand, according to group CEO Suchada Ithijarukul.

The plan would bring the total number of Makro stores at 184 by end-2022, of which 172 or 93.5 per cent will be located in Thailand, the Bangkok Post reported on April 1.

“Our sales in the first quarter this year improved for restaurant and hotel units,” the daily quoted Suchada as saying.

The company will focus on launching Makro’s Food Service stores this year, she said, explaining that the smaller outlets would require less capital, but that their 1,000-2,000sqm areas would still be enough to meet the needs of consumers.

Suchada said that Makro’s original format would be reworked as a delivery hub for Food Service customers, and that the firm would also pour in money to expand the operations of its importer and distributor of chilled and frozen products, Siam Food Services Ltd.

She also mentioned that the company’s new business-to-business (B2B) digital marketplace platform “maknet” is expected to launch in the second quarter of 2022.

“More younger customers are doing business with Makro and they require more product varieties and services. Maknet was created as a solution for business owners.

“The platform will help us expand not only the customer base and supplier base, but also the service base.

“Maknet applications will be an important jigsaw piece to support the future growth of Makro, boosting sales from omni-channel from 12 per cent of the total last year to 30 pere cent in three years,” she said, according to the Bangkok Post.

On the Stock Exchange of Thailand on Monday, April 4, Siam Makro’s share price ended at 40.00 baht – flat on Friday’s close – for a market capitalisation of 423.21 billion baht, with 6.15 million shares traded.

The two new Makro stores will add to Cambodia’s burgeoning retail space, which in Phnom Penh alone topped 400,000sqm as of end-2021, according to research by real estate company CBRE Cambodia.

In a report released in February, the real estate firm said the retail occupancy rate in the capital averaged 67 per cent in 2021, down from 84 per cent a year earlier.

The report lists the average monthly rental prices during the year at $27 for “average shopping mall” units (down six per cent year-on-year), $24 for “prime high-street” units (down 10 per cent), $21 for “community mall” units (down 36 per cent) and $20 for “prime retail podium” units (down 17 per cent).

CBRE Cambodia noted that 20 famous international brands made their debut in the Kingdom last year, including 7-Eleven, Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, Fila and Ralph Lauren.

The real estate firm forecasted that retail space in the capital would expand by more than 190,000sqm this year – through units categorised as “shopping mall” (over 110,000sqm), “community mall” (over 50,000sqm), “retail podium” (over 25,000sqm) and “other types” (more than 1,000sqm).

It listed some of the retail projects due to go up for sale in 2022 as Chip Mong Sen Sok Mall, Chip Mong 271 Mega Mall, Prince International Plaza and Lucky Pavilion Mall.