CENTRAL Group, Thailand’s largest retail conglomerate, plans to spend as much as US$500 million to expand its retail network in Vietnam over the next five years.
Philippe Broianigo, chief executive officer of Central Group Vietnam and Big C Vietnam, said that Central Group is the largest foreign retailer in Vietnam, with five core business units: Big C Shopping Mall, Food Store, Fashion Store, Hardline Store, and Online Platform providing omnichannel and e-commerce services.
Central Group Vietnam recently launched a series of new branded retail initiatives, such as Look Cool, Hello Beauty and HomeMart DIY.
“We (Central Group) have already invested US$1.5 billion in Vietnam since 2012 and plan to invest another US$500 million in the next five years, from 2018 to 2022. Store penetration year to date in total is 250 stores nationwide and we plan to reach 720 stores in the next five years, or by 2022,” Broianigo said.
He said that the company’s employees in Vietnam now number more than 17,000, serving over 175,000 customers a day.
Central Group Vietnam (CGV) is a member of Central Group, which was established in Vietnam in July 2011. The group's business activities in Vietnam range from electronics, sports, fashion, shopping centres and hotels to e-commerce and supermarkets.
Central Group’s 250 stores cover in Vietnam cover more than 700,000 square feet in more than 37 provinces and cities. Of these stores, there are: 31 Big C shopping malls; 35 Big C hypermarkets; 25 Lanchi Mart outlets; 50 fashion stores under the Robins, DELALA, Supersports, and Marks & Spencer brands; 56 Nguyen Kim electronics stores; more than 40 stores of the new retail concepts such as LookKool, C-express, B2S, Hello Beauty; and three online platforms, NguyenKim.vn, Robins.vn and B2S.com.vn
“The digital lifestyle has played a vital role in the rapid growth of the country’s developments in its economy, infrastructure, and education, and this has resulted in increased domestic household income,” said Broianigo.
“So, the key challenge is the speed and the need to truly understand Vietnamese consumers’ behaviour and culture. Central Group Vietnam is looking for only the best to serve Vietnam customers across all formats, both offline to online, to meet their needs.”
Broianigo said that the company’s sales in Vietnam grew by double digits in the first six months of this year compared with the same period of last year. The firm expects to achieve an even greater performance in the second half of this year.
Central Group in Thailand yesterday announced the hosting of Vietnamese Goods and Tourism Week in Thailand 2018, an event being organised by the Vietnam Ministry of Industry and Trade and Central Group, in cooperation with the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism. Being held in the CentralWorld shopping complex in Bangkok, the fair was officially opened yesterday and lasts until August 26.
This is the third year in a row that the event has been held in Bangkok. Besides promoting Vietnamese goods, tourism is also highlighted in this year’s programme, with input from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Do Thang Hai, Vietnam’s deputy minister of industry and trade, said at the opening ceremony that in the recent years the Vietnamese government has constantly opened up opportunities for local businesses to further expand their network overseas – and Thailand is regarded as among the promising markets.
The trade show is the critical activity within this framework, the deputy minister said.
For Vietnamese goods to be exported into distribution network of Central Group, Central Group Vietnam has cooperated with the Ministry of Industry and Trade in conducting market research, selecting enterprises and organising training courses to improve the capacity and quality of goods, as well as supporting the development of customised products to suit the Thai market.
Thai Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong said that Thailand and Vietnam have had continuous relations for more than 42 years. These relations have not been just diplomatic, but also strongly involved with economics, trade, investment, culture, education and tourism.
For trade in particular, the two countries have long exchanged goods and services, with trade volumes increasing every year. The Thai private sector has also been continually ready to invest in Vietnam’s trade, such as Central Group’s investment in various Vietnamese businesses, and the importation of Vietnamese products for sale in Thailand. This has enabled Thais to get to know Vietnam better, causing increasing circulation between the two countries. The government has set a target that the volume of two-way trade should top US$20 billion.
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Besides this, the two countries have mutually promoted tourism, with a rising number of Thai tourists favoring Vietnam because of the country’s natural beauty, distinctive culture and unique cuisine, which Thais find delicious. At the beginning of this year, the number of Thai tourists visiting Vietnam rose by 9.2 percent on the same period last year. The Vietnamese government’s vision of increasing visitor arrivals to 17-20 million by 2020 is now bearing fruit, while not less than 1 million Vietnamese tourists come to Thailand every year, a number also increasing annually. These factors have driven the economies of both countries to create rapid growth. This Vietnamese Goods and Tourism Week in Thailand 2018 is thus a portent to extend trade and tourism relations between the two countries to be stronger than ever.