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Central Group makes Singapore foray

Thailand’s retail and property conglomerate Central Group has entered Singapore with two Manchester United stores opened in the city state.

The first Manchester United store was opened at Marina Bay Sands in December last year while the second store opened in March at Citylink Mall.

English football club Manchester United has given Central Marketing Group, a part of Central Group with core competencies in retailing, distributing, manufacturing and marketing consumer products, the rights to manufacture and design Manchester United merchandise.

Further investment in Singapore is imminent.

“We would like to bring in our own (retail) brands,” said Pichai Chirathivat, Central Group executive director and Central Marketing Group CEO. “We would like to be careful first, maybe open one or two brands first. Then you know whether there’s chemistry and after that you can expand fast.”

He said Central Group was unlikely to open its distinctive department store format in Singapore as the city state is already saturated with them. 

“The retail scene is already very competitive, as Singapore is the land of shopping. But there is some room for the middle-end products and Thai local brands are well-suited to Singaporean tastes,” said Chirathivat. 

He is optimistic that Manchester United will be a success in Singapore as the British football club plans to list shares in Singapore stock listing. He said: “It’ll be very good for us… a win-win situation for our retail shops.”

A Manchester United store opened in Singapore more than a decade ago, but failed. Now, the global football brand is the most popular English sports team in Asia and a large store is trading successfully in Macau, and incorporates a Manchester United Experience gallery.


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