The landscape of the convenience store business in Thailand is going to change drastically with the entry of retail giant Tesco Lotus.
The British-owned hypermarket retailer has opened its first 365 convenience store in Bangkok as it seeks to challenge the lengthy dominance of Charoen Pokphand's 7-Eleven chain.
Tesco Lotus is planning to invest a huge sum to put a 365 store on every corner of Bangkok's roads, said an executive from Ek-Chai Distribution System Co, the operator of the Tesco Lotus hypermarket chain in Thailand.
Muji of Japan took up a joint venture with Central Department Store (CDS) to speed up its growth in Thailand amid fierce competition in the fashion business.
Muji (Thailand) Co was recently set up with registered capital of THB200 million (USD6.4m) to operate in Thailand. CDS changed its status from distributor to business partner, holding a 51 percent stake in the joint venture, while 49 percent belongs to Muji Japan.
Thailand is the third country in which Muji has used a joint venture after South Korea and Taiwan.
CP All Plc, the local operator of 7-Eleven convenience stores in Thailand, is extending its market dominance in the THB2.2 trillion (USD76.16 billion) retail market with the acquisition of Siam Makro Plc's cash-and-carry chain for THB188.88 billion.
It is the largest merger and acquisition transaction globally in the retail sector this year, and the largest M&A in Asia-Pacific as well, according to Thomson Reuters.
Thailand's Central Marketing Group (CMG) will spend THB3 billion (USD97.9 million) to open outlets of Payless ShoeSource, the largest US shoe store chain, in Thailand and Vietnam over the next five years.
Thailand's biggest fashion distributor has received a five-year licence from Payless ShoeSource Inc, a business unit of Collective Brands Inc, the leading US shoe company, to operate its multi-brand stores in Thailand and Indochina. A total of 45 Payless shops will open in the region over the next five years.
Central Retail Corporation (CRC), Thailand's largest retailer, plans to convert all its Tops Daily convenience stores to FamilyMarts starting next year and increase FamilyMart branches to 1,500 over the next five years.
According to CRC CEO Tos Chirathivat, the company will spend THB2-3 billion until 2017 to expand the world's second largest convenience store brand in Thailand.
It aims to have at least 1,000 convenience stores nationwide by year-end 2012 and 3,000 branches by 2022.
UK pharmacy and beauty store chain Boots will more than double its store estate in Thailand over the next three years, totalling more than 300 shops.
The pharmacy group, which last month revealed a major merger with US drugstore giant Walgreens, currently has 200 stores in Thailand.
Tesco also announced plans to open three "state-of-the art" distribution centres in Thailand through its Tesco Lotus business.
Kasikorn Research Center (K-Research) forecasts overall retail sales in Thailand will expand by 3-5 percent, more than the 2.8 percent last year but less than the 6 percent growth posted in 2010 and 2011.
Spending on mobile phones was not dampened by the political turmoil and economic slowdown in Taiwan.
Research firm IDC's Asia-Pacific Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker showed that Thailand mobile phone market topped 6.3 million units in the fourth quarter of 2013, a 4 percent growth from the same quarter last year.
The growth was said to be driven by a 63.6 percent increase in the number of smartphones shipped.
Vehicle sales in Thailand will dip 11.7 percent year-on-year to 1.175 million units this year due to the current political turmoil and post-election uncertainties, according to forecast by research firm Frost & Sullivan.
Dushyant Sinha, Associate Director, Automotive Practice, Asia-Pacific at Frost & Sullivan said weak economic growth and slowing demand will most likely contribute to the decline. Moreover, the after effects of the first car buyer program launched by the Thai Government will most likely hit vehicle sales growth.
CP ALL Public Company Limited (CP ALL), the Bangkok-based operator of 7-Eleven stores, is deploying the nex-generation point-of-sale (POS) terminals.
The company has approximately 7, 500 7-Eleven stores in Thailand, and is planning to increase that number to 10,000 stores by 2018. Each store will be equipped with two or three POS terminals from NEC Corp.