CENTRAL Group continued its growth path in the first-half of the year with the government’s infrastructure spending as one the key drivers, said Tos Chirathivat, chairman of executive committee and group CEO, in announcing the company’s performance in the first six months of the year.
Rise in same store sales as well as expansion of its Thai and overseas subsidiaries also helped boost the group’s results.
It is on track to achieve a 12 per cent year-on-year growth as targted for 2018.
Many new initiatives have been launched in the first half of the year, transforming the business with technology to simplify customers’ lives, creating new experiences on both digital platforms and at bricks-and-mortar physical stores. In particular, Central Department Store introduced a new Omnichannel service “Central Chat & Shop”. Customers can now contact our customer service staff via LINE to not only inquire about products and services, but also make purchases for home delivery or in-store pick-up. This service has become very popular and will be rolled out to other retail units.
Home and Hardlines categories showed good momentum with double digit growth.PowerBuy Online sales tripled from the previous year with launch of the new Omnichannel website.
Supersports has relaunched its flagship store at Central World with an exciting new concept catering to millennials and customers with active lifestyle. The store has been well-received since its opening and continues to do well.
CPN Residential started to bring in revenues having transferred units in the first three projects in Khon Kaen, Chiang Mai and Rayong, marking a key milestone for CPN. Vibrant tourism boosted Centara business significantly in the first half driving up both F&B and room revenues.
Many projects are on track to be launched in the second half, including Central Festival Phuket Phase 2, a luxury mall and lifestyle hub targeting affluent and high-end domestic and overseas tourists, which will reinforce Central Group’s leadership position in Phuket. The project features many attractions such as the “Tribhumi” Theme Park and “Acquaria” , the biggest aquarium in Thailand.
A strong pipeline of new store and mall openings is expected for all formats in Thailand and Vietnam as planned.
Central Food Retail will be
introducing a new concept, “Jingjai Farmers Market” in Udon Thani, bringing organic produce daily from the local farms to. This initiative also aims to generate income for local communities across Thailand as it is rolled out in other provinces.
Also in the second half, customers can expect more features and services to be added to the recently relaunched The1 Mobile Application. Customers will be able to manage their points, whether earning, redeeming or transferring points more easily through the App, as well as checking for promotions, coupons, and shop locations through their mobile phone.
The1 members will be eligible for benefits & privileges across all Central Group business units and the growing list of partners.
Last but not least is the Central-JD partnership bringing Thai products to China and beyond. After announcing the joint venture in the fourth quarter last year, JD Central eCommerce (JD.co.th) had a soft launch in June. Full logistics, payment, customer service support infrastructure has been set up to enhance the online shopping experience.
The grand opening is now targeted for the third quarter. About 4,000 brands carrying over 500,000 items will participate on the platform with great opening special deals and promotions.
As JD Central Thailand will be listed on JD.com's International website as well, participating brands and merchants will also get exposure and opportunities to sell to a massive Chinese customer base, facilitated by JD's world-class fulfillment and logistics infrastructure for exports.
Tos attributed Central Group's good results to the various economic policies and measures launched by the government to boost the economy, promote tourism and improve communication-transportation infrastructure.
“We see a noticeable uplift in shopping sentiment in most product categories from fashion, home, electronics, to food. Increased tourist arrivals further added to the demand and spending at our shopping centers and hotels. Online sales penetration grew sharply as a result of our Omnichannel and On Demand push, which will continue to grow strongly with improvement of logistics infrastructure and networks.
“The government’s agenda to put emphasis on transport infrastructure with its biggest ever investment budget of over US$100 billion is seen as highly beneficial. The planned motorway extension, along with development of high speed trains, efficient logistics and EEC projects, will provide solid foundations for expansion of the service sector in coming years.
By creating better access, mobility and connections between key cities, we can expect property, retail and commerce to prosper on a broader scale nationally.
“This infrastructure investment is very important as it will boost the economic growth of the service sector, shift more population out of the low-income agriculture sector which still employs more than 20 million people, into service and industries. This is a key driver in moving Thailand from a middle-income to a high-income country in the future.”