Tourists boost Central Group revenue

Thai retailer Central Group expects revenue to rise 21 per cent to Bt320 billion ($9.17 billion) this year following strong growth in overseas business plus tourist spending.

Controlled by Thailand’s Chirathivat family, Central is seeking to expand in Southeast Asia, says CEO Tos Chirathivat, citing Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

He expects overseas revenue to account for 40 per cent of total in the next five years from 30 per cent now.
Central bought superstore chain Big C‘s Vietnam business from French retailer Casino in April, comprising 43 stores and 30 malls. Vietnam is Southeast Asia’s fastest-growing market for Central, and the company expects sales to reach Bt37 billion this year.

Central has also benefited from rising tourist numbers in Thailand, with sales up 15 per cent this year versus 5 per cent for Thai customers, says Tos.

The group, whose interests include shopping mall developer Central Pattana, Robinson Department Store and Central Hotel Plaza, plans to spend more on its online retail business, which currently accounts for just 1 per cent of revenue.

Central bought fashion-focused eCommerce site Zalora in April as part of a push to win back shoppers who increasingly prefer internet shopping.

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