Bye bye big stores, hello small stores | Bangkok Post: learning

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Bye bye big stores, hello small stores

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Small & friendly stores along mass transit routes (selling food, consumer, health & beauty products) replacing controversial big stores (hypermarkets). 

The new store format for 7-Eleven stores with parking spaces on Ratchaphruek Road in Bangkok. (Photo: Pitsinee Jitpleecheep).

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RETAIL

Convenient boom

Retailers are coming ever closer to you and putting even more stuff on their shelves
9 Apr 2013
Pitsinee Jitpleecheep

Thailand is now Southeast Asia's capital of convenience stores as consumers have dearly embraced modern trade as part of their 21st century lifestyle.

The evidence lies in the numbers. Convenience stores can now be found at every corner in Bangkok and major provinces. Each store serves 3,000 households nearby today, compared to 10,000 in 1989, when the first convenience store was opened in the country.

The Thai Retail Association reported there were 12,246 convenience stores nationwide as of the end of last year.

Surachet Kongcheep, senior manager at Colliers International Thailand, said 7-Eleven commands the lion's share in the convenience-store market, with around 69%, or nearly 7,000 branches, followed by Tesco Lotus Express, with more than 850 branches or a 8.6% market share.

But that does not stop the two giants from gaining more ground. The operators of 7-Eleven and Tesco Lotus Express plan to increase their branches by around 500 and 200 per year, respectively

According to plans, there will be 10,000 7-Eleven stores by 2018, 3,000 FamilyMart outlets by 2017 and 850 Mini Big C stores by 2016.

This year, 7-Eleven plans to open 550 outlets across the country while FamilyMart, Mini Big C and Tops Daily aim to open 200, 150 and 50 stores, respectively.

Labour and utility costs are the largest burden, says Mr Longden.

Lawson 108, the joint venture between Saha Pathanapibul Plc and Lawson of Japan, plans to convert four of the 108 shops currently operated by Saha into Lawson 108 this month, with a plan to do the same for the remaining 260 stores over the next few years.

But the relentless expansion of the existing players does not stop new local and foreign chains from eyeing a piece of the lucrative market. Their focus, however, will be on health and beauty products.

A market analyst projected the number of convenience stores in Thailand would reach 30,000 in the next 5-10 years.

While authorities have been struggling to curb the expansion of large-scale hypermarkets to protect mom-and-pop shops in communities, their efforts are targeted at large hypermarkets, the format popular among major players in the past few years.

As well, the standard size of a hypermarket is usually around 8,000 to 15,000 square metres. But the strict laws, rising land costs and opposition by local people have prevented the hypermarket chains from expanding in some locations.

To retain their market shares, the existing retailers have been quick to adjust themselves by shifting the battleground to smaller and friendlier store formats such as convenience stores and mini-supermarkets.

They have come up with a smaller and friendlier concept . stores of 300 to 2,000 sq m each - to expand into communities.

Steady economic growth, higher consumer purchasing power and the proliferation of high-rise buildings and condominiums along the mass transit routes have created more opportunities to develop small retail stores.

These factors have drawn new players, particularly those in consumer and health and beauty products, to enter the sector.

But with the boom comes increasing risks, especially for smaller players.

Several convenience-store operators admit they are worried about the aggressive expansion of Mini Big C and Tesco Lotus Express, which provide fresh food and groceries, along with parking space.

A source at Charoen Pokphand Group said CP All, the operator of 7-Eleven, is testing a new format - standalone stores with parking spaces. The shelves will be extended to include larger product varieties.

The latest standalone 7-Eleven store is opposite Home Pro home-improvement store in the Bang Na-Trat area. It offers essential goods, books and bakery under one roof.

Apart from the standalone store, CP All will focus on premium stores like the one on the ground floor of Park Ventures Ecoplex on Wireless Road in Bangkok.

Phattaraporn Phenprapat, an executive at Tops Supermarket, said although Thai consumers welcome a more convenient lifestyle with food or necessary goods available around the corner, retail operators - particularly food stores - are squeezed in a crowded market and struggling to please more demanding customers. 

The company plans to open 50 Tops Daily branches this year.

"More competition will benefit customers as the standards, format, decoration and merchandising will be upgraded to meet international standards," Ms Phenpraphat said.

Ian Longden, senior vice-president for small-store format at Big C Supercenter, said the recent entry of new operators and the rapid expansion by existing players are significantly changing the business landscape.

Thai consumers are sophisticated and affluent and are looking for ways to save time on their weekly food shopping so they can spend more time and money on other activities.

"All operators are all facing rising costs from labour and utility costs. This is a big part of small stores' expenses and a burden which we must mitigate," Mr Longden said.

(Source: Bangkok Post, Retail, Convenient boom, Retailers are coming ever closer to you and putting even more stuff on their shelves, 9 Apr 2013
Pitsinee Jitpleecheep, link


Retailing Vocabulary

convenience stores - small local neighborhood stores like 7-11 (See Wikipedia)

convenience (noun) - the quality of being suitable for your purposes and needs and causing the least difficulty ความสะดวกสบาย
convenient (adjective)

format - the arrangement, design or organisation of something รูปแบบ
store formats - the size and layout of a store to sell certain kinds of goods (See Wikipedia)

smaller and friendlier store formats
the new format for 7-Eleven stores

The new format for 7-Eleven stores with parking spaces on Ratchaphruek Road in Bangkok.

boom -
a period of time when some kind of business is doing well (example: a gold boom)
convenient boom

retail - การขายปลีก
retailers - companies that own chains of stores such as 7-11

coming closer
coming ever closer

shelf (singular) - the places in a store where products are put and displayed for customers ชั้น, หิ้ง
shelves (plural) 
put on shelves

stuff - things
putting more stuff on shelves

Retailers are coming ever closer to you and putting even more stuff on their shelves

capital -
the central city of a country (for its government)
the capital of ... - the most important city for ...

Southeast Asia's capital of convenience stores

trade - the buying and selling of goods การค้าขาย
modern trade - new ways of selling goods to customers with lower price and greater convenience: greater selection, better hours, closer to where they live, shorter lines, parking spaces for shoppers 

century - a period of one hundred years ศตวรรษ
21st century - the years 2000 to 2100

lifestyle - the living conditions and things people do everyday (fashion, home decoration, pets, cooking, music, tv, movies, garden, etc) รูปแบบการดำเนินชีวิต
21st century lifestyle

embrace -
to accept and use something
dearly embrace - 
to accept and use something with great love

consumers - people who buy things (individuals and families)
consumers have dearly embraced modern trade

Thailand is now Southeast Asia's capital of convenience stores as consumers have dearly embraced modern trade as part of their 21st century lifestyle

evidence - information that shows and proves something to be true or did happen หลักฐาน  
the evidence lies in the numbers

households - families or groups of people living together (economics treats this as a unit that makes decisions)
Each store serves 3,000 households nearby

The evidence lies in the numbers. Convenience stores can now be found at every corner in Bangkok and major provinces. Each store serves 3,000 households nearby today, compared to 10,000 in 1989, when the first convenience store was opened in the country.

nationwide - throughout a whole country ทั่วทั้งประเทศ ทั่วประเทศ
12,246 convenience stores nationwide

The Thai Retails Association reported there were 12,246 convenience stores nationwide as of the end of last year.

command the lion's share -  to have most of something (a lot more than other's have)
7-Eleven commands the lion's share in the convenience-store market

market share - the percentage of sales in a market for a certain kind of a product that a company has (Samsung's percentage of TV sales, for example)  เปอร์เซ็นต์การขายสินค้า, ส่วนแบ่งตลาด, ส่วนครองตลาด (See Wikipedia)
8.6% market share

Surachet Kongcheep, senior manager at Colliers International Thailand, said 7-Eleven commands the lion's share in the convenience-store market, with around 69%, or nearly 7,000 branches, followed by Tesco Lotus Express, with more than 850 branches or a 8.6% market share.

gain more ground - to have more of something, to make progress, to gain more market share (compared to others) 

operator - a company running some kind of business
the operator of 7-11

But that does not stop the two giants from gaining more ground. The operators of 7-Eleven and Tesco Lotus Express plan to increase their branches by around 500 and 200 per year, respectively

outlets - stores, places to sell products ร้านค้า
10,000 7-Eleven outlets
3.000 FamilyMart outlets

According to plans, there will be 10,000 7-Eleven stores by 2018, 3,000 FamilyMart outlets by 2017 and 850 Mini Big C stores by 2016.

aim (noun) - purpose; goal เป้าหมาย; จุดมุ่งหมาย the thing you hope to achieve by doing something เป้าหมาย
aim (verb) - to make something your goal 
aim to open new stores

FamilyMart
aims to open 20 new stores

This year, 7-Eleven plans to open 550 outlets across the country while FamilyMart, Mini Big C and Tops Daily aim to open 200, 150 and 50 stores, respectively.

utility - some basic service like electricity or water (provided by government or  large monopoly)
utility costs

burden - a responsibility, a difficult thing that must be done, a heavy load to carry   ภาระ
the largest burden

Labour and utility costs are the largest burden, says Mr Longden.

joint - done with someone else ร่วมกัน
venture - a new activity, usually in business, which involves risk or uncertainty ธุริกิจเสี่ยงแต่สามารถทำกำไรได้
joint venture - a smaller company owned and operated by two larger companies

Lawson 108, the joint venture between Saha Pathanapibul Plc and Lawson of Japan, plans to convert four of the 108 shops currently operated by Saha into Lawson 108 this month, with a plan to do the same for the remaining 260 stores in over the next few years.

relentless - never stopping
expansion - when something increases in size, number or importance การขยายออก
relentless expansion

players - participants in an industry; companies and individuals who compete in a market, especially the important ones ผู้ค้า, ผู้ค้ารายใหญ่
smaller players
existing players
the relentless expansion of the existing players

chains
- retail chains, a group of stores operated by the same company ร้านค้าในเครือ (คนไทยเรียกทับศัพท์ว่า เชน เช่น 7-Eleven, ลูกชิ้นนายฮั่ง เป็นต้น)
local and foreign chains

lucrative - profitable, earning a lot of money ที่มีกำไรงาม
lucrative market - a profitable market

eyeing a piece of - wanting to have part of something (that looks good, that is nice to have)
eyeing a piece of the lucrative market

new local and foreign chains from eyeing a piece of the lucrative market

focus - the main thing it is concerned with ให้ความสำคัญ
the focus of new market entrants is on health and beauty products

But the relentless expansion of the existing players does not stop new local and foreign chains from eyeing a piece of the lucrative market. Their focus, however, will be on health and beauty products.

market analyst - an expert on this market, who studies the market and does research on the market to gain knowledge of it and understand it better
projected - expected, forecast, what people believe it will in the future

A market analyst projected the number of convenience stores in Thailand would reach 30,000 in the next 5-10 years.

authorities - government officials, the police or people in official organisations who have the legal power to make people obey laws or rules เจ้าหน้าที่ (ตำรวจ หรือผู้มีอำนาจ)
struggling - having serious difficulties มีความยุ่งยาก

scale
- large size 
large-scale - size (relative size, compared to other things)

hypermarkets - very large stores like Tesco Lotus and Carrefour
large hypermarkets
large-scale hypermarkets

curb - to control or limit something that is harmful ระงับ, ควบคุม
curb expansion

curb the expansion of  hypermarkets
authorities struggling to curb the expansion of  hypermarkets

mom-and-pop shops - small stores run by a family in a local neighborhood or community
protect mom-and-pop shops


curb the expansion
of hypermarkets to protect mom-and-pop shops 

efforts - the work done towards achieving some goal; people trying to accomplish something, achieve a goal ความพยายาม
the efforts of authorities

targeted - aimed at a particular person or group ตกเป็นเป้า  ตั้งเป้า เล็ง มุ่ง
the efforts of authorities are targeted at large hypermarkets,

large hypermarket is the store format popular among major players in the past few years.

While authorities have been struggling to curb the expansion of large-scale hypermarkets to protect mom-and-pop shops in communities, their efforts are targeted at large hypermarkets, the format popular among major players in the past few years.

strict - very careful and exact เข้มงวด
strict laws

opposition - strong disagreement with a plan or policy ความขัดแย้ง
opposition by local people

As well, the standard size of a hypermarket is usually around 8,000 to 15,000 square metres. But the strict laws, rising land costs and opposition by local people have prevented the hypermarket chains from expanding in some locations.

retain - to keep รักษา
retain market shares

adjust - to change something slightly, especially to make it more correct, effective, or suitable ปรับ
quick to adjust

shifting the battleground to smaller and friendlier store formats

mini - small
mini-supermarkets

To retain their market shares, the existing retailers have been quick to adjust themselves by shifting the battleground to smaller and friendlier store formats such as convenience stores and mini-supermarkets.

concept - a principle or idea ความคิด
a smaller and friendlier concept

expand - to become larger ขายตัวออกไป
expand into communities

They have come up with a smaller and friendlier concept . stores of 300 to 2,000 sq m each - to expand into communities.

consumer - someone who buys and uses goods and services ผู้บริโภค
consumer purchasing power

high-rise 
high-rise buildings
high-rise condominiums


mass - large numbers จำนวนมหาศาล
transit - the act of moving from one place to another การเดินทางผ่าน
mass-transit

routes - routes or rail tracks (ways to go from one place to another place)
mass-transit routes - subway or skytrain tracks (or the road a bus travels) 
high-rise buildings and condominiums along mass transit routes

retail - to sell directly to the public for their own use ขายปลีก
small retail stores

opportunities - a situation where it is possible to do something that you want to do
opportunities to develop small retail stores

Steady economic growth, higher consumer purchasing power and the proliferation of high-rise buildings and condominiums along the mass transit routes have created more opportunities to develop small retail stores.

factors - the different things that affect the outcome of a situation, event, or decision ปัจจัย
sector - a part of a country's economy or business activity ภาคเศรษฐกิจของประเทศ

These factors have drawn new players, particularly those in consumer and health and beauty products, to enter the sector.

smaller players

But with the boom comes increasing risks, especially for smaller players.

aggressive - determined to win or succeed and using forceful action to achieve victory or success, ซึ่งมีความมั่นใจสูง ก้าวร้าว
aggressive expansion

admit - to agree that something is true, especially when you are unhappy, sorry or surprised about it ยอมรับ

they admit they are worried about the aggressive expansion

parking space -
a place to park your car (while you go shopping and buy things)

provide - to give someone something that they want or need
the retail chains provide fresh food and groceries, along with parking space.

Several convenience-store operators admit they are worried about the aggressive expansion of Mini Big C and Tesco Lotus Express, which provide fresh food and groceries, along with parking space.

standalone - alone by itself, not combined with others
standalone stores - stores that are not in shopping centers with other stores
standalone stores with parking spaces

source - someone who gives information แหล่งข่าว
A source at Charoen Pokphand Group said CP All, the operator of 7-Eleven, is testing a new format - standalone stores with parking spaces.

varieties
product varietie
The shelves will be extended to include larger product varieties.

improvement - when something gets better or when you make it better การปรับปรุง, การทำให้ดีขึ้น
home-improvement store

essential - needed; necessary, must have ที่จำเป็น ที่สำคัญ
essential goods

offer under one roof - can buy these things at one store (don't have to walk or drive to another store)
the store offers essential goods, books and bakery under one roof

The latest standalone 7-Eleven store is opposite Home Pro home-improvement store in Bang Na-Trat area. It offers essential goods, books and bakery under one roof.

premium - special features or services or goods that you pay extra for
premium stores - stores selling more expensive special goods and services

Apart from the standalone store, CP All will focus on premium stores like the one on the ground floor of Park Ventures Ecoplex on Wireless Road in Bangkok.

convenient - easy to use; easy to do; an easy way to do something
a more convenient lifestyle
Thai consumers welcome a more convenient lifestyle

squeezed - put in a difficult situation where there is not much room for movement or action (limited options for staying in business)
squeezed in a crowded market
retail operators are  struggling to please more demanding customer

Phattaraporn Phenprapat, an executive at Tops Supermarket, said although Thai consumers welcome a more convenient lifestyle with food or necessary goods available around the corner, retail operators - particularly food stores - are squeezed in a crowded market and struggling to please more demanding customers.

The companys plans to open 50 Tops Daily branches this year.

benefit - to get help or an advantage from something ผลประโยชน์ to help someone มีประโยชน์ต่อ
more competition will benefit customers

standards - a rule for behaving which should be obeyed มาตรฐาน, บรรทัดฐาน, กฎเกณฑ์, กรอบ
standards - an acceptable level of quality or achievement มาตรฐาน
international standards
meet international standards

upgrade - make changes and improvements to make something more modern and better
upgraded to meet international standards.

decoration
merchandising

the standards, format, decoration and merchandising will be upgraded

More competition will benefit customers as the standards, format, decoration and merchandising will be upgraded to meet international standards.

a company's entry into a market
the recent entry of new operators

rapid - happening quickly อย่างรวดเร็ว
rapid expansion
the rapid expansion by existing players

significantly - in an important way อย่างสำคัญ
significantly changing the business landscape

the recent entry of new operators and the rapid expansion by existing players are significantly changing the business landscape.

sophisticated - knowing and understanding a lot about a complicated subject ซับซ้อน having a good knowledge of culture and fashion เก๋ไก๋
affluent - rich, wealthy, has lots of money มั่งคั่ง
Thai consumers are sophisticated and affluent

Thai consumers are sophisticated and affluent and are looking for ways to save time on their weekly food shopping so they can spend more time and money on other activities.

mitigate - to make something less harmful or serious บรรเทา
mitigate a burden
labour and utility costs are a burden which we must mitigate

"All operators are all facing rising costs from labour and utility costs. This is a big part of small stores' expenses and a burden which we must mitigate," Mr Longden said.

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