|President Yuwadee Chirathivat|
Photo Source: Bangkok Post
Central Department Store Co (CDS) plans to invest 9 billion baht to expand its retail business from 2011-15.
Of the total, about 5 billion baht will be spent to open five new stores nationwide in the next five years and the remaining 4 billion will be used to renovate its existing stores and set a marketing and advertising budget, said president Yuwadee Chirathivat.
Each new Central department store will require an investment of 1 billion baht and have retail space of 23,000 to 25,000 square metres. The five new stores will be paired with new shopping complexes developed by Central Pattana Plc, the property arm of the Central Group of Companies.
"We haven't added any stores for two years. It's time for us to move forward again," she said.
The group's online shopping launch this year has been successful and about 60% of its clients are from the provinces. This leads CDS to believe there is a huge opportunity for its department stores in major provinces.
The company will consider provinces with city centres of more than 500,000 population, but it does not want to overlap with Robinson Department Store.
One new department store is planned for the former Suan Lum Night Bazaar on Rama IV Road, said Mrs Yuwadee.
CDS is doubling its investment budget from last year to 4 billion baht, of which 2.6 billion will be spent on renovating its existing stores, including Lat Phrao, Chidlom, Bang Na and Zen Department Store, as well as adding new services. The remaining 1.4 billion baht will be for marketing and promotions.
The Lat Phrao branch will be extensively redesigned similar to Central's flagship store at Chidlom, with more luxury brands including Kate Spade, Longchamp, CK Calvin Klein and Juicy Couture.
Zen will be completely redesigned after being burned down in last year's riots, with usable space of 50,000 sq m.
For the Chidlom branch, the renovation will include the four main floors and new brands will be added such as Burberry, Mulberry, Pleats Please, Diesel Black Gold, Jimmy Choo and Tory Burch.
Sales of CDS in the first three months of this year are estimated to have grown by 10% to 6 billion baht, with annual sales forecast at 29.5 billion despite the closure of Lat Phrao for renovation and the redevelopment of Zen.
"According to our survey, customer satisfaction at Central Department Stores increases every year and is at 88%. At the Chidlom branch, the figure reached 97%," Mrs Yuwadee said.