Robinson Department Store Plc will spend 4 billion baht to open seven new outlets this year and next.
|Customer response to first lifestyle centre in Trang has exceeded expectations since the opening four months ago, says Mr Preecha.|
Included in the two-year expansion plan is Robinson Suphan Buri, its second stand-alone lifestyle project, worth 800 million baht, where outside tenants will be invited to rent space next year, said president Preecha Ekkunagul.
The first lifestyle centre opened in Trang last November to penetrate secondary provinces where big shopping malls were not present.
"The feedback in Trang has exceeded our expectations with double-digit growth every month since it was opened four months ago," he said.
Apart from Suphan Buri, the other six new stores will be in Chiang Rai, Phitsanulok, Bangkok's Rama IX and Bang Khae areas, Mega Bang Na and Surat Thani. By the end of 2012, Robinson will have 30 branches.
"There is high potential to open more new stores upcountry. And, it is possible to open at least one Robinson department store in every province over the next 10-20 years," Mr Preecha said.
Currently, Robinson has 14 stores in the provinces and nine in Bangkok.
Mr Preecha said it was becoming more difficult to do retail business because of the rapid changes in information technology.
"Just by sitting at home, we can know what is happening around the world. And, people travel a lot and see a lot, so they have higher demand in term of fashions and services," he said.
Mr Preecha himself also plans to spend more time walking around Robinson stores to inspect products and services and improve them, and to identify and solve problems.
"As retail is about detail, every time I visit our stores, I always find something lacking. I will put more effort into developing our staff to provide excellent services, which will help make Robinson different from others," he said.
Asked about his main concern this year, Mr Preecha said there was nothing to be concerned about as the shopping atmosphere is back to normal. Farmers are earning more income from higher product prices and exports remain good because of the continuing growth of the Chinese and Indian economies.
"The retail business this year is still growing from last year. Fashion and gift items have recorded good sales since the third quarter of last year and the momentum seems to be continuing," he added.
Sales of Robinson last year totalled 14.79 billion baht, up 15.2% from the year before, with a 68.4% rise in net profit to 694 million.
Robinson shares (ROBINS) closed yesterday on the SET at 23 baht, up 30 satang, in trade worth 21.5 million baht.