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Robinson sticks to investment plan, eyes 10% annual growth

Robinson Department Store will go ahead with its Bt15.45-billion investment plan for both its home market and Vietnam from this year until 2016 to drive its business up at least 10 per cent annually. This year's capital-expenditure budget is Bt6.05 billion, of which Bt5.35 billion will go to five store openings in the provinces - Prachin Buri, Roi Et, Chachoengsao, Samut Prakan and Mukdahan.

In Vietnam, two "Robins" department stores will be launched in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City at a cost of Bt200 million each. In that country, "Robinsons" is already used as a trademark department-store brand from Singapore.

Next year's budget is Bt4.4 billion, of which Bt4 billion will be spent on adding five domestic properties, mainly upcountry. Two more stores will go into Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with a total budget of Bt400 million.

In 2016, the budget will be about Bt5 billion, with four or five stores planned in cities in Vietnam and the same number in Thailand.

President Alan Thomson said yesterday that both Thailand and Vietnam posed great opportunities for the company. At home, the provinces have more room for growth with the spending power of local people on the rise, while Vietnam has 90 million people.

Vietnamese share a cultural similarity and many have also chosen Thailand as their shopping destination instead of Singapore and Hong Kong.

While the firm has kept its sights on Vietnam, investors from Indonesia, Malaysia and Cambodia have also shown interest. It aims to achieve retail leadership on a regional level through product management, marketing activities, enhanced service and personnel.

Only one Robinson, in the Asoke area, was hit by the political movement in Bangkok, but traffic at other locations has continued growing. Upcountry, where many people have been financially crippled by the government's trouble rice-pledging scheme, its stores have not been hurt so far because they stock affordable products. Last year, the company's sales grew 12.4 per cent to Bt24.3 billion, while net profit ballooned by 19.8 per cent to Bt1.99 billion.


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