Tesco Thailand is evaluating opening as many as 750 more convenience stores, which would expand its overall network by about 50 per cent.
No timeline was revealed for the move, which is one of several strategic growth options being considered by the British-headquartered grocery retailer. Another is the development of a premium supermarket offer in the UK.
Tesco currently operates 1583 stores in Thailand, a mixture of large-format hypermarkets and a growing network of small compact stores for local communities.
In light of the company’s success in Thailand and neighbouring Malaysia, the company is reportedly considering options for expansion in other Asian markets including South Korea and China. A move into South Korea would be surprising given the company sold its Homeplus-bannered hypermarket operations there in 2015.
Developing a stronger convenience-store network in Thailand – and potentially Malaysia – would make a lot of sense given consumers across the region are losing interest in hypermarkets as a format in favour of more frequent visits to smaller shops, as well as buying goods online.
Tesco has told its investors that Thais are migrating from traditional markets to hypermarkets, supermarkets and convenience stores as the country develops.
The potential store expansion was outlined at a Capital Markets Day presentation to analysts and investors on the company’s future direction.