CP All Plc, the operator of the 7-Eleven convenience store chain, plans to spend 7 billion baht to add over 700 new branches in Thailand this year, cashing in on the country's improving retail outlook.
The new branches will be split evenly between franchises and self-owned outlets.
The expansion will bring the number of 7-Eleven stores in Thailand to 11,000, said a source who requested anonymity.
CP All's capital expenditure in 2018 is likely to be on par with last year, when it spent 20 billion baht to finance 710 new branches and renovate its existing stores, IT facilities and open its new distribution centre, said the source.
Thanks to new transport infrastructure development and the government's much-touted Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) initiative, which is expected to draw more foreign investment to Thailand, other convenience store and mini-supermarket chains including FamilyMart, Lawson 108, Mini Big C and Tesco Express are also poised to expand their businesses.
"The government's EEC policy is expected to bring more foreign investment to the eastern provinces, particularly Chon Buri," said the source.
"The spending power of people in the eastern provinces is projected to rise and we are ready to open more 7-Eleven stores in this area."
Apart from the domestic market, CP All, through Siam Makro Plc, the operator of Makro cash and carry store, opened the company's first Makro outlet in Cambodia last year.
Following that opening, the company plans to introduce more Makro branches in India and China later this year.
Speaking at the 2nd "7-Eleven Sustainable Thai SMEs" conference yesterday at Dusit Thani hotel, senior vice-president Suwit Kingkaew said the spending power of Thai consumers has considerably improved this year.
"Sales of SMEs products, which are made available at 7-Eleven convenience stores across the country, grew by 20% in 2017," he said. Farm product prices also recovered last year, said Mr Suwit.
There are 6,000 companies who supply products to 7-Eleven. Of the total, 2,200 come from SMEs, totalling 22,000 product items.
The convenience store chain sells products to 30 million customers per week.
CP All reported revenue of 452 billion baht in 2016, an increase from 406 billion in 2015.
The company estimates 2017 revenue hit 480 billion baht.
CPALL shares closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 79.50 baht, down 25 satang, in heavy trade worth 1.23 billion baht.