Saturday, May 14, 2011


A new chapter in Bangkok's retail war has opened with the two main players both erecting new store signs proclaiming "Extra".

New signs from the country’s two biggest hypermarket operators have begun appearing simultaneously in Bangkok this week as competition between Big C and Tesco Lotus intensifies. Tesco introduced its new look on Rama IV Road and Big C at the former Carrefour Lat Phrao outlet.

Ek-chai Distribution Centre, the local operator of Tesco Lotus hypermarkets, changed the sign at the Rama IV branch to read Tesco Lotus Extra on Tuesday evening, while arch-rival Big C Supercenter, the Thai unit of France's Groupe Casino, put up a Big C Extra sign at the former Carrefour Lat Phrao only hours earlier.
The hypermarket giants both adding the word 'extra' to their signs marks the second round in the battle between the UK-based Tesco Group and Casino, the French retailer that took over 42 Carrefour stores late last year.

Both hypermarket players plan to pioneer their Extra concept stores in Thailand.

A Bangkok Post survey could find no readily evident changes inside either store that would justify the Extra tag.
A Big C source said the company was working to change its merchandising inside the Lat Phrao branch.
Big C Extra is a new concept for both Big C and Casino. The concept will be applied to some former Carrefour outlets at premium locations.
A representative of Tesco Lotus's Rama IV branch said it would be fully relaunched as Tesco Lotus Extra in the coming months.
It will be the first major facelift for the store in more than a decade of service. After the renovation, it will be positioned more as a premium outlet with extended space.
The company chose the Rama IV outlet because it was one one of the original prototypes here.
Tesco Lotus Rama IV competes head-on with Carrefour just across the road.
The area - packed with foreign expats, foreign tourists and luxurious condominium projects - has high purchasing power, and this branch is one of the company's best performers.
Tesco Extra, the newest business format under the Tesco Group in the UK, was introduced there in 1997 and rolled out internationally in 2007, when all eight Makro outlets it took over in Malaysia were rebranded.
The new concept entered mainland Europe in 2010.
Tesco Lotus Extra on Rama IV Road will feature a comprehensive range of products, from general goods to even international fashion brands similar to those available in the Siam Paragon shopping complex.
The original Tesco Lotus format will be retained in many other stores, including the 92nd Thai branch, which opened in Kalasin province this month.
The new outlet features commercial space of 9,990 square metres, of which 4,400 sq m are saleable space, and parking for 500 cars. A total of 260 jobs were created.
Two more Talad Lotus stores will open later this month, in Kamphaeng Phet and Kanchanaburi provinces.
BIGC shares closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 89 baht, down 75 satang, in trade worth 27.32 million baht.

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