Thailand’s Central Group has launched its first B2S stationery and office supplies store in Vietnam, near nine universities and four industrial parks in Ho Chi Minh City.
B2S Vietnam CEO Nguyen Thi Thuc Vy says the company plans another 30 outlets across the nation over the next five years.
Its initial 900 sqm outlet offers about 6000 products including office furniture, computers, printers, stationery, cards and entertainment materials. About 80 per cent of the goods are imported.
Vietnam’s stationery market is valued at about VND4 trillion (US$175 million) annually, and has had average growth of about 10 per cent a year since 2014. Viet Capital Securities says this has been helped by a large, young population; increasing demand for educational services and products; and consumers more inclined to pay for quality.
Ho Chi Minh City already has more than 1500 family-owned stationery stores. Some of the larger ones are incorporated into bookstores. Based on the 60 stores in its home market, the Thai model offers a broader range as well as innovations like online service and free delivery.
Central Group entered the country of 93 million in 2011, and has seen rapid expansion through acquisitions, franchises and JVs. It paid €1 billion last year to France’s Casino Group for the Big C supermarket business in Vietnam. Central plans to double the Big C chain from 34 outlets and to develop 13 larger commercial complexes by 2021.
Central also acquired 49 pder cent of the electronics retailer Nguyen Kim, along with e-commerce platform Zalora Vietnam.