Central Retail Corporation (CRC), the country's largest retail chain, is spreading its presence in Europe by acquiring Illum, a 122-year-old department store in Denmark.
Illum, the Danish department store CRCjust bought, will receive a 2-billionbaht makeover. Illum targets medium-tohigh- end customers and has sales of about 5 billion baht per year.
The move is part of its plan to double its business size overseas to 50 billion baht in the next four to five years.
Illum is its second acquisition of a European department store after taking over Italy's La Rinascente in 2011.
CRC chief executive Tos Chirathivat did not disclose the value of the Illum purchase.
"The acquisition of the Danish department store is in line with our business strategy, which will combine the heritage of Illum and enhance it to be a more prestigious brand," he said.
The company will allocate 2 billion baht to renovate and reposition Illum to be globally recognised as a prestige department store that offers the best variety of luxury products for local and foreign shoppers.
Illum's six-storey building's interior structure, decoration and facade will be changed and more luxury products will be added. Illum will be under the management of the La Rinascente team.
Tos: Scandinavia a growing market
"Representatives from Illum contacted us and we finally made a decision to acquire it because we saw an opportunity to turn it around as Scandinavia is now a growing market," Mr Tos said.
Scandinavia has a youthful population with high incomes, while the region is a major centre for cruise lines and tourism.
Copenhagen attracts many foreign tourists, particularly from China and Russia, who are among the top five biggest-spending shoppers in Europe.
Established in 1891, Illum is in the heart of Copenhagen in an area that draws almost 6.5 million visitors a year.
The store offers over 20,000 square metres and a mix of Scandinavian and international fashion brands, beauty products, interior design items and art.
Illum targets medium-to-high-end customers and has sales of about 5 billion baht per year.
After the completion of store renovation in the next four years, CRC expects sales at Illum to jump to 8 billion baht in 2017, Mr Tos said.
CRC began expanding its retail business outside Thailand for the first time in Hangzhou, China, in 2010. It has another department store in Shenyang.
It operates 11 La Rinascente stores in major cities in Italy and will add a new branch in Rome in 2015.
CRC signed a leasing agreement with PT Grand Indonesia to open the first Central department store at Grand Indonesia Shopping Town in Jakarta next year and will open five more stores in Jakarta and Surabaya by 2017.
CRC has five retail units with over 1,400 outlets in Thailand and overseas.
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- Writer: Pitcha Sakmangkorn