Thailand’s Central Group to invest $512 million in Vietnam

Thailand’s Central Group has revealed plans to invest US$512 million in Vietnam over the next five years, to expand its retail operations.

The company, which has acquired local businesses and is introducing its own Thai retail banners into the fast-growing market, is aiming to achieve sales growth of between 20 and 30 per cent annually there. It already has 160 outlets, including Robins department stores and the Big C hypermarket chain, the latter of which recorded 11 per cent sales growth in July.

Central Group believes its Vietnam sales can reach 35 billion baht (US$1.05 billion) in 2017.

Central Group Vietnam CEO Philippe Broianigo says the investment will be especially focused on food and electronics. Shopping malls, stationery shops, hotel management and wholesaling will also be nurtured.

In early 2013, Central acquired a 49 per cent share of local electronics retailer Nguyen Kim and Central Group CEO Tos Chirathivat says there are plans to open a further 30 branches of the chain this year alone.

Next year, Central will open 20 branches of Big C and its wholesale sister company Lanchi Mart.

Tos was speaking at the second Vietnamese Goods Week in Thailand, aimed at promoting international business and trade opportunities in Bangkok.

“We will continue to expand our business in Vietnam because of the country’s strong potential as an emerging market with high GDP growth,” Tos said.

“Vietnam and Europe are our investment priorities. We are interested in building our own hotel in Ho Chi Minh City in the future.” The hotel would have between 200 and 500 rooms.

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