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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

TESCO considers online sales in Thailand




The UK-based retail chain Tesco is exploring new business opportunities in Thailand including online shopping and will maintain its local investment in the long term despite current economic uncertainties.

The company's http://www.tesco.com is the world's biggest online grocery marketplace and it could be offered in Thailand in the future, said Steve Hammett, CEO of Ex-Chai Distribution System, the operator of Tesco Lotus hypermarkets.


"We have experience from online shopping and this channel is challenging. If we can do it here, we will," he said.
Additionally, the company will spend at least 7 billion baht next year, on par with this year's level, to improve existing stores, open new outlets and enhance IT systems.

Tesco has been in the Thai market for 15 years.


Tesco Lotus this year will open six hypermarkets, 10 Talad Lotus stores and 60 Express stores, bringing its total to 577 outlets by year-end. The number of new stores next year will be on par with this year.


Apart from the three main retail formats, the company has two new Plus shopping malls in the pipeline next year. They require combined investments of about 700-800 million baht.


"We introduced Plus Shopping Mall 12 months ago and it was successful," he said, adding that the company planned to open the new mall at Amata Nakorn Industrial Estate in Chon Buri next week.


"There are 10,000 convenience stores and supermarkets available in the Thai modern retail segment. But the number of all retail outlets under Tesco Lotus is less than 5% of them so far," he said.


The company has observed in recent weeks that some shoppers are starting to spend slightly more again, as concerns about the economy and H1N1 influenza ease, improving confidence.


"We know how to do things better and respond quickly to what consumers want. Now, we serve one million shoppers every day," Mr Hammett said.
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