Taokaenoi to compete with Donki store
SET-listed Taokaenoi Food & Marketing Plc (TKN), the maker of Tao Kae Noi seaweed snacks, plans to develop a new souvenir store similar to Don Quijote's Donki discount stores to cash in on tourism growth.
Ittipat Peeradechapan, chief executive of the company, said it plans to open the first Tao Kae Noi Land Plus store on 250 square metres of space near a skytrain station. The store is expected to be worth 5-10 million baht and it aims to open the store in the fourth quarter this year.
The store will be a prototype to test market response before branching out to other potential locations.
Tao Kae Noi Land Plus will sell both food and non-food items such as health and cosmetics products, with food making up 60% of the total and non-food 40%.
Products made available at Tao Kae Noi Land Plus store will comprise both Tao Kae Noi Land brands and those of other manufacturers.
"We want to develop Tao Kae Noi Land Plus stores to become a shopping destination for souvenirs and miscellaneous products like Don Quijote, which is a must-visit spot for tourists in Japan," Mr Ittipat said.
Don Quijote has a diverse product line-up and late-night services, and is known for offering the ultimate consumer experience.
Long a favourite of Thai tourists who like to shop, the chain is known for its huge range of products -- from basic electronics and clothing to all sorts of quirky and occasionally lewd Japanese accessories -- as well as its pounding in-store soundtrack.
He said the company is focusing more on foreign tourists because arrivals keep growing every year in Thailand.
Moreover, the company wants to grow its sales from other products apart from Tao Kae Noi seaweed products.
"Some 50% of our sales growth last year was driven by foreign tourists, particularly from China," said Mr Ittipat.
In the meantime, the company also plans to open seven Tao Kae Noi Land shops in tourist destinations across the country this year, bringing the total to 20.
He said the company will also emphasise overseas expansion, notably in countries like China, the US, Vietnam and Malaysia.
Last November the company spent US$2 million (62.7 million baht) to buy a US seaweed factory, in a move to expand to North America and Europe.
Mr Ittipat said Taokaenoi is upgrading its factory and plans to develop logistics systems.
The company expects the factory to start producing and selling seaweed products within 18 months.
Sales are estimated to reach $10 million a year, he said.
"We are interested in the US because it is the biggest snack market in the world, with $40 billion in annual sales. There is huge potential to grow our business over there," said Mr Ittipat.
Last year the company exported about 100 million baht worth of seaweed to the US market.
Apart from the US, the company is committed to expanding its business in China this year.
Taokaenoi plans to appoint more distributors to extend its product network on the mainland.
The company also wants to expand its business to new countries in Europe this year.
Taokaenoi exports its seaweed products to 50 countries.
Sales of Tao Kae Noi grew by 12% last year to 5.2 billion baht in revenue, with net profit of 600 million baht, down from 782 million baht in 2016.
Of the total revenue, about 3 billion baht came from the export market, with the remaining 2 billion from the domestic market.
The company forecasts sales will grow 12-15% this year to 5.82-5.98 billion baht.
TKN shares closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 18.90 baht, down 30 satang, in trade worth 214 million baht.