Jakarta store is Central's opening move in Asean
Central Retail Corporation (CRC) is making inroads into the regional retail battlefield with plans to open its first Central Department Store in Jakarta in 2014.
The company aims to tap opportunities when the Asean Economic Community takes effect in 2015, part of a long-term plan to become the leading retail chain in Asean.
CRC's announcement follows news that Aeon, the Japanese retail firm, plans to open many retail stores in the region, including in Indonesia.
While Aeon will develop its own shopping complexes, CRC will lease retail space at the Grand Indonesia mall in Jakarta for its Central Department Store, the same strategy it used when entering China.
Chief executive Tos Chirathivat said his company recently signed a lease agreement with PT Grand Indonesia for 21,000 square metres of space on MH Thamrin Road, the thriving business district where Selamat Datang Monument sits.
The entire shopping complex consists of the Grand Indonesia mall, a 56-storey office building, a five-star hotel and luxury residences covering total space of 600,000 sq m. More than 1.3 million customers visit the shopping mall each month."Opening the store in Indonesia will be an important milestone for both Central Department Store and CRC," said Mr Tos.
Indonesia, home to 237 million people, is the biggest economy in Southeast Asia.
In a recent Nielsen survey, Indonesians named Central as the international department store they most expected to open at Grand Indonesia, indicating strong brand awareness.
The Central Department Store in Indonesia will be CRC's fourth in Asia outside Thailand. CRC has three department stores in China and also owns 11 in Italy under the La Rinascente brand.
Mr Tos said Central is aiming at both Jakarta customers and expats.
Alan Thomson, international business director for Southeast Asia, will look after CRC's regional expansion, while Indonesians will be hired to be store managers and sales people.
Mr Tos said five more stores will open in Jakarta and Surabaya by 2017, each costing 600 million baht.