CFR readies B1bn for supermarkets

CFR readies B1bn for supermarkets

Deputy Commerce Minister Sonthirat Sonthijirawong (2nd right) and Pascal Billaud, chief executive of CFR, at Thailand Amazing Durian & Fruit Fest 2017. PAWAT LAOPAISARNTAKSIN
Deputy Commerce Minister Sonthirat Sonthijirawong (2nd right) and Pascal Billaud, chief executive of CFR, at Thailand Amazing Durian & Fruit Fest 2017. PAWAT LAOPAISARNTAKSIN

Central Food Retail Co (CFR), the operator of Tops Supermarket, will allocate more than 1 billion baht to expand its business this year, introducing its Tops Plaza format and boosting its Superkoom supermarkets ten-fold to 200 branches.

Phattaraporn Phenpraphat, the company's executive vice-president for marketing and public relations, said Tops Plaza is the latest retail format by CFR.

It will function like a community mall with many anchors including Tops. The first Tops Plaza will be opened by year-end in Pichit and the second branch will be unveiled in Payao next year.

Tops Supermarket has traditionally been opened in retail shopping complexes developed by SET-listed Central Pattana Plc, a property arm under Central Group, and Robinson Department Store.

But Tops Plaza will be a new retail format that will be opened in provinces that have no retail developments under CPN and Robinson.

"We're seeking new opportunities in Pichit to support a different customer segment," said Mr Phattaraporn.

Apart from Tops Plaza, CFR will speed up expansion of Superkoom, its value supermarket brand. It plans to open 178 Superkoom branches in 2017, bringing the total to 200 by year-end.

Superkoom outlets will have retail space of 300-500 square metres and provide 3,000-4,000 grocery items, excluding fresh food.

As of Dec 31, 2016 year, there were 217 food stores operated by CFR.

Mrs Phattaraporn said CFR's business has gone well amid the current economic climate. The company managed a double-digit sales growth rate in the first four months of this year. The growth came from existing stores and the opening of new Tops Daily, Tops Market and Superkoom stores.

"Our sales growth of 3.02% in the first quarter exceeded the industry growth rate," she said.

To build on that momentum, CFR plans to open its superstore concept at Central Plaza Shopping Complex in Nakhon Ratchasima and at its Robinson Department Store in Mahachai, Samut Sakhon in the near future.

The company also launched Original Thailand Amazing Durian & Fruit Fest 2017 at CentralWorld.

"We want this event to be a national one that brings more foreign tourists to Thailand to get a taste of Thai fruits," she said.

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