Thursday, December 1, 2011


Central Food Retail Co, the operator of Tops Supermarket, earmarked 1 billion baht to expand its mini-supermarkets next year.

Chiranun Poopat, a senior vice-president, said Central plans to build 200 Tops Daily markets next year, compared to 70 shops this year.

An industry analyst said Central's expansion mirrors its rivals moves, particularly Tesco-Lotus Express, to cash in on the increasing popularity of community shops.

Each Tops Daily requires only 200 square metres, which is in line with the planning code.

The analyst added he sees Central accelerating its focus to Tops Daily, away from conventional supermarkets.

Central expects all its markets to reach 219 branches this year. Of the total, 118 branches are Tops Daily with the rest either Tops Market, Tops Supermarket, Central Food Hall or Central Wine Cellar.

Mrs Chiranun said the company aims to have 421 outlets at the end of next year. Central Food Retail closed 30 Tops Daily stores during the flood, but all outlets will be open by next week, she said.

It also closed a distribution centre in the flooded Bang Bua Thong district. The company is still evaluating asset damages, but it estimates an initial loss of 100 million baht.

The Bang Bua Thong distribution centre has partially begun operations, and full operation is expected early next month.

Tops Supermarket sales grew during and before the floods because it sells essential goods, she said.

"Our sales surged by 50-60% during September and October. Sales in November increased by 8-10% in line with our earlier projection," she added.

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