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Berli Jucker spending up on expansion

Berli Jucker (BJC), the owner of Big C Supercenter, will allocate TB10 billion (US$280 million) to expand the Big C hypermarket chain.

It plans to opening 213 stores and renovate 54 outlets next year.

BJC executive VP for group strategy and investor relations Oliver Gottschall says the company will make an aggressive expansion of the Big C network through Thailand, spending TB8 billion to open nine Big C hypermarkets, four Big C Market outlets and 200 Mini Big C stores, as well as renovate 54 outlets. The remaining TB2 billion will be reserved as cash flow.

As previously reported, MM Mega Market, BJC’s wholesale business, has been merged with Big C’s hypermarket business in a bid to promote expansion and management efficiency. BJC closed its Ogenki beauty/drugstores to focus on Big C’s Pure drugstore chain.

Two MM Mega Market stores in the Nong Khai and Sa Kaeo provinces are expected help expose Big C’s retail network to cross-border trade through their strategic locations near Laos and Cambodia.

BJC has more than 700 retail branches under various formats in Thailand, mostly under the Big C brand, and more than 100 branches in Vietnam.

BJC CEO Aswin Techajareonvikul says Big C’s revenue dropped 20 per cent to TB22.7 billion in the third quarter of this year because of the gradual reduction of cigarette and liquor sales. Net profit rose 14.6 per cent year-on-year to TB1.53 billion.

During the nine-month period, Big C posted a net profit of TB5.27 billion on revenue totalling TB92.6 billion. Nine-month revenue declined 7.3 per cent, attributed to the economic slowdown.

Gottschall says the rise in net profit in the third quarter came from Big C restructuring, with low-profit products being replaced with more fresh food.

During the first nine months, BJC posted a net profit of TB2.77 billion on revenue totalling TB97.4 billion. For the third quarter, net profit was TB1.8 billion and total revenue stood at TB33.5 billion.

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