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Robinson Department Store plans growth

Thailand’s Robinson Department Store aims to invest about 16.8 billion baht (US$479 million) on opening stores over the next five years with the aim of boosting average sales growth by 5 to 7 per cent a year.

Majority-owned by Central Group, Thailand’s largest retail conglomerate, Robinson plans to boost store numbers to 56 by 2020 from 42 now, pinning its hopes on government economic-stimulus measures, says president Alan Thomson.

That growth would equate to an average of 2.8 new stores a year, but the store’s rate of expansion has slowed with it dropping to two new stores this year, whereas it had four last year and five two years earlier. Thomson says this reflects Thailand’s current economic weakness.

Its two new branches this year will cost it 1.6 billion baht, but it is hoped sales overall will rise 7 per cent from last year’s 25 billion baht, reaching 35 billion baht by 2020.

Thomson says Robinson also plans to outlay 2.5 billion baht on renovating 20 outlets.

Robinson also has two stores in Vietnam, and aims to double that by 2020. “We are trying to identify challenges before we expand in Vietnam,” says Thomson, indicating the company may invest more in Thailand’s neighbour next year.

Meanwhile, the company’s same-store sales rose 3.1 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2015, versus a drop of 2.1 per cent for the full year.

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