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Big C Thailand plans major expansion

Berli Jucker Group, the new owners of Big C Thailand, have announced a major expansion plan targeting the regions.

Big C Supercenter’s board, now controlled by Berli Jucker Group after it bought stakes from Group Casino and Central Group, over recent months, have signed off on a budget of up to THB6 billion (US$168 million) for store expansion.

New stores are planned for what the company describes as “blue ocean” sites, including border cities and major districts where the brand is not well represented.

Last weekend, Big C opened its 126th hypermarket, in Ranong, only the first new store this calendar year.  The 4000 sqm store anchors a 10,000 sqm development, aiming to attract 10,000 shoppers a day, most of them Burmese from across the border or living and working in the province. The complex also houses a three-screen Major Cineplex cinema

Big C Thailand plans to open five more hypermarkets this year, mostly in the south and northeast of the nation. Another three smaller Big C Market stores are planned for the north and 75 mini Big C convenience stores, two thirds of them franchised.

“BJC will help strengthen Big C via its diversified products and in the area of logistics. It may help the company to speed up its expansion in the future,” said Songsak Wijaithammarit, assistant VP for operations.

“Our shareholders were impressed by the new major shareholder of Big C, which is Thai.”

Big C currently operates 125 large format stores (Big C Supercenter, Extra and Jumbo), 55 Big C Market stores, 397 Mini Big C stores (including 164 in Bangchak service stations) and 147 Pure drugstores.

Big C Supercenter’s operating profit rose 1.2 per cent to THB2.01 billion last quarter on sales down 1.1 per cent to THB 32.8 billion. Same-store sales dropped 2.9 per cent.

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