Siam Makro Plc, the operator of Makro cash-and-carry stores, will spend 2.6 billion baht to open new outlets and renovate its existing stores next year.
President Suchada Ithijarukul said the company planned to open three new outlets next year in Kamphaeng Phet, Kanchanaburi and Lop Buri, bringing the total to 47 next year.
"We believe there is still demand for food products. No matter how bad the economy is, people have to eat. The economy next year will not be worse than this year," she said.
All new developments of Makro next year will come under "Eco Plus", a new store concept that the company introduced in Pattaya this week. The 600-million-baht Pattaya branch has retail space of 7,000 square metres. More than 80% of the total area is dedicated to 10,000 items of fresh and dry foods, seasonings and beverages.
The displays of the Eco Plus-concept store will differ from those at other branches. Fresh and dry food and seasonings are put in the most accessible area to help shoppers save time as they regularly visit the store 3-4 times a month.
The Pattaya branch would serve the needs of hotels, restaurants, catering businesses and small retailers in Pattaya and nearby provinces in the Eastern Seaboard.
Currently, Makro has 40 stores under the original 10,000-square-metre format, three Eco-format stores with half the retail space in Phuket, Krabi and Koh Samui and one Eco-Plus format in Pattaya with 7,000 sq m.
Mrs Suchada said there was bright business potential for its Pattaya branch as the economy is recovering and large department stores and real estate projects are stepping up their investments. Moreover, the company has 30,000 registered members, mostly hotels, restaurants, catering businesses and small retailers.
Sales of Makro in the first nine months of this year grew by 3.5%, better than the industry's growth rate. The company expects sales this year to reach 75 billion baht, up from 70 million baht last year.
Shares of Makro closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 84 baht, up 25 satang, in trade worth 47 million baht.