ROBINSON Plc plans to invest Bt15 billion over the next five years to open 11 more retail outlets, both in department store and lifestyle centre formats.
President Wuttikiat Techamongklapiwat yesterday said the company would invest about Bt3 billion to open two to three outlets annually over the next five years, as well as renovate existing stores and acquire new sites for future expansion.
“We expect to increase the total number of Robinson stores, both in department stores and lifestyle centres, from currently 46 to 59 within the next five years, as well as to increase the total retail space operated by the company from currently 950,000 square metres to 1.2 million square metres,” he said.
Wuttikiat said that the company will invest about Bt3 billion this year on business expansion, including the opening of new branches, renovating existing stores, and buying new land plots.
The company will open a Robinson Lifestyle Shopping Centre in Chon Buri at a cost of Bt1 billion.
Wuttikiat said that the planned opening of the lifestyle centre comes as a response to the economic expansion and increasing purchasing power in the Eastern region, especially in Chon Buri, due to the development of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).
He said the new branch would be located behind Amata City Industrial Park and is scheduled to open within the third quarter of this year. It will be the 47th Robinson in Thailand and the 21st branch in the Robinson Lifestyle format. The branch will have two floors, spanning more than 36,000 square metres. It will be the third Robinson in Chon Buri, after Pacific Park Sriracha Shopping Centre and Central Plaza Shopping Centre Chon Buri.
“Our company has planned this new branch in Chon Buri because we consider the province to have high purchasing power due to the large industrial parks in the province and its vicinity, enabling the population to have consistent income,” Wuttikiat said.
“In Amata City Industrial Park alone, there are more than 400,000 workers. We anticipate a significant economic expansion within the province, especially after investment in various infrastructure projects, including the extension of Airport Link to the Eastern region and other projects that will make travelling to the East much simpler.”
Wuttikiat said that another Robinson branch is scheduled to open in the fourth quarter and will also be in the Robinson Lifestyle Shopping Centre format. The new branch will be in Chaiyaphum province, which will be the 48th Robinson and the 22nd location in the Robinson Lifestyle format. The Bt800 million investment covers more than 32,000 square metres of land and aligns with the government’s policy for economic development and urbanisation in the country’s secondary cities.
“Chaiyaphum's economic growth is considered great due to the textile industry and agriculture. The government also has economic stimulation plans via secondary city tourism that aims to boost a province like Chaiyaphum to grow similarly to the other major cities," said Wuttikiat.
He said that the company also plans to buy other plots for future expansion and to renovate existing Robinson stores this year.
For last year, Robinson Plc registered a net profit of Bt2.74 billion and a growth rate of 8.7 per cent (excluding special items, where the company records the reversal of bad debts and receipt of compensation for flood victims in the fourth quarter of 2016).
The company said the growth came from continuous increases in rental income, with an occupancy rate of as high as 99 per cent, along with an increase in other income, and effective expense management, as well as the opening of three new branches: Robinson Lifestyle Petchaburi in May, Robinson Department Store Mahachai in November, and Robinson Lifestyle Kampaengpetch in December.
Robinson Lifestyle Shopping Centre attracted 7.9 million visitors each month, at a growth of 12.9 per cent, last year. The company believes that the expansion of the two branches this year will positively impact the company, according to Wuttikiat.
Additionally, in 2018, Robinson plans to compete in retail more vigorously with two major marketing strategies. First, it will develop the online market by offering what it calls “a perfect omnichannel” to customers. Wuttikiat said that Robinson plans to leverage the number of branches spreading across the country and the online shopping system “Click and Collect” at shopping.robinson.co.th to integrate the online and offline shopping experience.
“Currently, the company's online business is growing at around 150 per cent and we anticipate a continuous growth in this segment, which will strengthen our department store and shopping centre businesses," he said.