Central signs Watts deal

Central Department Store Co, a unit of Central Retail Corporation (CRC), has officially partnered with Watts Co from Japan by acquiring a 51% stake in Thai Watts Co.

The Komonoya branch in Seacon Square.

Tos Chirativat, CRC's chief executive, said that as the major shareholder in Thai Watts, Central Department Store will co-manage Komonoya, the Japanese chain of 60-baht shops in Thailand, with Watts Co.

He said the subsidiary has been interested in the one-price-shop market in Thailand for a long time on the back of constant growth in the property industry.

In particular, extensive expansion of the condominium market leads to high demand for everyday household items, a trend that is conducive to one-price shops, said Mr Tos.

Watts Co, is a leader in one-price shops, with 18 years' experience of managing 846 branches of 100-yen shops in Japan and an excellent relationship with Japanese suppliers.

In 2009, Watts established Thai Watts to operate Komonoya, the 60-baht-shop chain in Thailand.

The company now has eight branches.

Mr Tos said Central Department Store plans to open new 60-baht shops in strategic locations in major cities nationwide.

"We plan to open 60 stores by the end of 2017 at a cost of 200 million baht, with sales targeted at 1 billion baht in five years," he said.

The company will be managed by the existing team led by Toshiyuki Inada, the managing director of Thai Watts.