Supermarket and convenience store chains are moving their battlefield to petrol stations, which are now offering them new market opportunities.
CP All Plc, local operator of the 7-Eleven convenience store chain, is set to open another 400 stores at PTT gas stations within the next decade.
At the same time, Central Food Retail Co (CFR), the operator of Tops Supermarkets, plans to open 100 Tops Daily mini supermarkets at Caltex filling stations within the next five years. Big C Supercenter Plc will open 300 Mini Big C outlets at Bangchak petrol stations.
Piyawat Titasattavorakul, the managing director of CP All, said the company has already renewed its contract with PTT to open 400 convenience stores at PTT filling stations planned for the future.
"We hope our 7-Eleven convenience stores at petrol stations will reach 1,200 in the next decade," he said.
Apart from filling stations, the company is looking for new untapped markets.
It has signed a memorandum of understanding with L.P.N. Development Plc to open its stores at all of its new condominium projects. Five 7-Eleven stores have already opened at L.P.N. projects.
CP All is also talking with L.P.N. executives about opening stores at existing condominiums after existing operators' leases expire.
Asked about its business plan in China, Mr Piyawat said CP All expects to obtain a licence to operate 7-Eleven stores in one zone within the next two years.
Phattaraporn Phenpraphat, CFR's vice-president for marketing, said the firm will spend 300-350 million baht to open 100 Tops Daily mini supermarkets at Caltex stations in the next five years.
While spending per head per visit at Tops Daily outlets in petrol stations is about 120 baht, only two-thirds of the spending at stores located in general locations, it is still a good opportunity, as the investment cost is lower than at other locations.
Kudatara Nagaviroj, Big C Supercenter's corporate affairs director, said the company has formed a partnership with Bangchak petrol stations.
Four Mini Big Cs have already opened at Bangchak petrol stations in the capital.
These have received a positive feedback, and five more will open this year.
All pilot Mini Big Cs are designed to serve various customers including residents living near the filling stations.
The Mini Big Cs at Bangchak provide up to 4,300 product items in 160-200 square metres of space.
The company plans to have a total of 300 Mini Big Cs at Bangchak stations by 2016.
About the author
- Writer: Pitsinee Jitpleecheep
Position: Business Reporter