Robinson announces retail expansion
Urbanisation, tourism seen to fuel growth
SET-listed Robinson Department Store Plc (ROBINS) has earmarked 15 billion baht to open 22 new branches in the next five years.
Robinson, a retail unit of Central Group, now operates 38 stores nationwide, with sales of almost 24 billion baht last year.
The company is one of several major local retailers mapping out a five-year investment plan to exploit an expected regional economic strengthening on the back of higher foreign tourist numbers and growing urbanisation.
Robinson president Alan Thomson yesterday said 3.3 billion baht would be spent this year alone to open four branches.
These will include three Robinson Lifestyle Centers in Nonthaburi, Mae Sot and Buri Ram.
Only one department store will be opened, in Rayong, to tap community growth on the back of the burgeoning Eastern Seaboard industrial estates.
The 3.3 billion baht is part of a 40-billion-baht annual budget set by Central Group for retail business expansion each year.
Mr Thomson said Robinson Lifestyle Centers would be the priority.
This format will dominate among most of the new stores to be opened in the future, as it fits with changing more modern consumer behaviours, he said.
Five of these new lifestyle malls opened last year, in Chachoengsao, Prachin Buri, Samut Prakan, Roi Et and Mukdahan provinces.
All of them received a good response from local shoppers.
This year will see the number of Robinson Department Store branches reaching 42, Mr Thomson said.
Part of the budget will be used to renovate some existing stores including branches in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phuket, Trang, Chon Buri and Rangsit.
Mr Thomson said retail competition in these areas was intensifying, so it was necessary to give Robinson a facelift.
Apart from renovations, the company will add new international brands at its stores.
Included will be Claire's, an Illinois-based fashion accessories retailer that will debut in the Rangsit, Fashion Island (Ram Intra Road) and Jungceylon (Phuket) branches in May.
Babyshop, featuring children's apparel, toys and other products from the Middle East, will also launch in May, at the Rama IX Road branch in Bangkok.
The branch will also see the debut of Mades Cosmetics, a hair- and skincare brand from the Netherlands, starting next month.
Internationally, the company will spend 400 million baht to open two new Robinson Department Stores in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City this year.
"Vietnam is our focus market, because it has light competition compared with other areas in the region," Mr Thomson said.
"Also, the growing numbers of middle-income customers is a plus."
He said the investment would help to increase sales by 15% to 27.5 billion baht this year.
Sales last year increased by 15% to 23.9 billion baht for a net profit of 1.92 billion, up by 2.1%.
ROBINS shares closed yesterday on the SET at 49.75 baht, up one baht, in trade worth 111 million baht.