Big C named 'fifth most valuable retail brand' in Southeast Asia
Interbrand, one of the world's largest branding consultancies, revealed that Thailand's Big C is the fifth most valuable retail brand in Southeast Asia.Developed by Interbrand, the ranking of Southeast Asia's top five Most Valuable Retail Brands for 2013 saw Singapore's FairPrice take the No 1 position. The other retail brands that made the list are: No 2 Parkson (Malaysia), No 3 SM Department Stores (Philippines), and No 4 Matahari De+partment Stores (Indonesia).
Valued at US$569 million (Bt17 billion), Big C had a big year in 2011-12 after acquiring Carrefour's assets in Thailand - making it the second-largest hypermarket brand, after Tesco Lotus. To take on this wave of expansion, internally the brand has created a new human resources structure, improved training practices and appraisal systems to show commitment to the workforce. Externally, the brand loyalty programme and range of retail formats (Big C Extra and Big C Jumbo) has helped it take the competition head on, Interbrand said.
Across Southeast Asia and its key markets (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam), the retail industry has seen tremendous changes over the past few years. Spurred by spending from middle-class consumers, most markets have seen increasing demand for a range of goods, including grocery, home improvement and fashion - all of which indicate a vibrant, economically active region, Interbrand added.
Retailers have had to adapt to changing demographics and the shifts in preferences and expectations that come along with rising income levels. Some have been more successful than the others.
One of the most recent and high-profile exits from the region, for instance, has been the French brand, Carrefour. Unable to meet emerging consumer needs through hypermarkets alone, and with no plans to offer new formats, Carrefour closed its outlets in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Retail chains that adapted their store formats and experiences to align with changing consumer needs, however, have seen better results.
Brands in Thailand and the Philippines are also capitalising on the growing number of consumers looking to shop online by offering innovative services such as online gift registries (still relatively new to the region). Online shopping combined with in-store pickup or delivery services aim to provide a better shopping experience for urban dwellers, and are proving to be an operationally efficient way to sell goods for many brands.
"The brands that make our list have been quick to keep up with shifts in preference and expectations," says Julian Barrans, managing director, Interbrand Singapore. "They have adapted to changing market needs while keeping a close eye on what consumers want."
The global retail industry has seen a tumultuous few years due to lapses in consumer confidence and Southeast Asia has been no different. According to Pricewaterhouse-Coopers, Asia Pacific's retail sales growth volume is forecast to grow 6 per cent in 2013, significantly lower than the 9.6-per-cent growth recorded in 2010.