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Berli Jucker eyeing Asean expansion

Thai company Berli Jucker (BJC) plans an aggressive expansion of its retail network in the Asean region.

The push will include its hypermarkets and convenience stores, including the opening of Big C hypermarkets in Malaysia, reports The Nation.

BJC president/CEO Asawin Techajareonvikul says the company is evaluating whether to give Malaysia or Vietnam priority in its retail network expansion.

Described by the company as “downstream business”, the expansion will help its main interests, manufacturing, distribution and logistics.

Group chairman Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi says BJC has had a foothold in Malaysia since acquiring a glass factory there in 1966. Big C stores would be the group’s first retail venture there.

However, Asawin says there are already many competitors in Malaysia. “Meanwhile, in Vietnam, we already have 19 MM Mega Market hypermarkets as well as 173 B’s Mart convenience stores. The market has a lot of potential.”

He says that between 200 and 300 hypermarkets are run by different companies in Thailand, but with about 90 million people in Vietnam, the number of hypermarkets there is quite small.

“Our strategy is to build ‘connectivity’ within our retail network,” says Asawin. “Our Big C stores now cover all major provinces throughout the kingdom, but the transportation lead time from one store to another is currently about three hours. We want to reduce this to only one hour, and that means we need to open more stores to fill the gap, especially in cities in border areas.”

BJC has 1200 retail outlets in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam under different brands, including Big C in Thailand, MM Mega Market and B’s Mart in Vietnam, and M-Point Mart in Laos. The group also has more than 10 factories in Asean.

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