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Sales down, but Berli Jucker sticking to Big C rollout plan

Despite declining first-half sales, the Big C Supercenter owner Berli Jucker (BJC) says it will continue rolling out hypermarkets and Mini Big C in Thailand.

BJC is consumer goods trading firm run by the Thai Beverage Group.

By the end of June, a Big C hypermarket opened in Nakhon Ratchasima and 37 Mini Big C stores set up across the nation, says VP for group strategy and investor relations Rami Piirainen.

Earlier, the company had set a target to open nine hypermarkets, one Big C supermarket and 200 Mini Big C stores, either through its own investment or under a franchise model.

“We confirm our expansion will meet the target,” Piirainen told stockbrokers at the Stock Exchange of Thailand’s Opportunity Day.

He said the firm would open only one Big C supermarket a year instead of two, while it planned to roll out renovations.

There were still plans to open a Big C supermarket in Cambodia by next year.

BJC owns a 97.9 per cent stake in Big C Supercenter, which runs the Big C hypermarket chain.

Both companies “synergised” their business last year and are delisting Big C from the SET, probably next month.

Sales of Big C in the first half of this year dropped by 14 per cent year-on-year to THB54.3 billion (US$1.6 billion) because of a 17 per cent fall in same-store sales.

BJC had total sales of THB72.3 billion, up 31.8 per cent, with net profit of THB1.96 billion, or a
112.7 per cent increase year-on-year.

Big C contributed 70 per cent of total sales and 63 per cent of total net profit for BJC for the six months.
Piirainen said he was optimistic sales would improvement in this half, especially from same-store sales, as the company had decided to sell some products at retail rather than wholesale prices.

The change had helped increase Big C profit margin and improve the performance of same-store sales, which grew 2.7 per cent in July and 10 per cent  last month.

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