Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Big C Supercenter Plc is preparing to expand its business at a faster pace next year.

Praphan Eamrungroj, the company's executive vice-president for properties, said the transformation of all 42 Carrefour outlets to Big C and Big C Extra had already been completed and several hundred millions of baht would be spent to provide facelifts to the stores.

Casino Groupe, the French retail firm, bought the Carrefour assets in Thailand late last year.

"The Big C Extra concept came from South America," Mr Praphan said.

The company plans to open three new hypermarkets and three new Big C Markets this year to integrate with Carrefour.

"The speed of our expansion next year will be faster than this year because we have more free cash flow after the integration," Mr Praphan said.

However, the additional outlets will be smaller because Big C feels it has enough hypermarkets to cover demand in each location. It expects to open more than 50 Big C outlets next year.

Mr Praphan is optimistic about the retail outlook after the election. If the new government follows through on populist giveaways, Big C will benefit.

"I think the worst of the political fighting has already passed and we hope all political participants will try to reconcile," he said.

Mr Praphan said hypermarket demand in Thailand was not saturated and the market would remain highly competitive because of the presence of Tesco Lotus.

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