Thai Robinson to invest $479 mln on new stores over 5 years

Reuters

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Thai Robinson to invest $479 mln on new stores over 5 years

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Thailand's Robinson Department Store PCL said on Tuesday it aimed to invest about 16.8 billion baht ($479 million) over the next five years on opening new stores in a move to boost average sales growth by 5-7 percent a year.
Speaking at a news conference, President Alan Thomson said Robinson, majority-owned by Thailand's largest retail conglomerate Central Group, planned to boost the number of stores to 56 by 2020 from 42 now, pinning its hopes on government economic stimulus measures stoking a pickup in the country's now-depressed consumer spending.
Growth at that pace would be equivalent to an average of 2.8 new stores a year. But Robinson's rate of expansion has slowed recently, dropping to two new stores this year, versus four in 2015 and five two years earlier, a deceleration that reflects Thailand's current economic weakness, Thomson said.
This year, the company will spend 1.6 billion baht on opening two branches. It's aiming for sales growth of 7 percent from 2015's 25 billion baht, and expects sales to reach 35 billion baht by 2020, Thomson said.
He also said Robinson planned to spend 2.5 billion baht to renovate 20 existing stores in an effort to respond to changing retail patterns and attract more customers despite the spread of online shopping.
Robinson also operates two stores in Vietnam, and aims to double that by 2020, Thomson said. "We are trying to identify challenges before we expand in Vietnam," he said, adding the company would likely invest more in Vietnam next year after a pause in 2016.
After being hit in recent years by weak spending in the slowing economy, like other Thai retailers, Robinson has seen signs of improvement in demand, thanks to the government's stimulus measures, Thomson said.
The company's same-store sales rose 3.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015, versus a drop of 2.1 percent for the full year, according to company data.

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