British retail giant Tesco is likely to keep its operation in Thailand despite selling its largest foreign asset in South Korea to improve its poor balance sheet.
One of the many reasons Tesco is not expected to sell its Thai operation, Tesco Lotus, it that it is among the top three retail operators in Thailand and the most recognised retail brand along with 7-Eleven and Central, an industry source said.
The heir to KCE Electronics Group has taken over the business of Thefaceshop in Thailand from a fashion company, hoping to take it among the top three South Korean skincare brands there in the next two years.
Vice-president Pitharn Ongkosit said he and his friends in the media and marketing fields have come together to buy TFS (Thailand) Co, part of LM Fashion Group, which has had the rights to operate Thefaceshop in Thailand since March.
Central Group, Thailand's largest retail conglomerate, launched Central Embassy, a luxury shopping complex in Bangkok last month. In a country with no shortage of malls, Embassy is the most lavish yet. Its 200 stores include swanky brands such as Prada, Hermés and Audemars Piguet. It's bringing Tom Ford, Christian Louboutin and La Martina to Thailand for the first time. Its 37 stories will be topped by a Centara Hotel.
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.
Under Armour Inc, a Maryland-based brand of sports performance shoes worn by celebrities such as Barack Obama and Jennifer Lopez, will debut in Bangkok next month.
The new shoe and apparel brand will be operated under a joint venture called UA Sports (Thailand). Singapore's Triple Pte, which holds the Southeast Asian distribution rights for Under Armour products, and Sports Revolution Co, a Thai sporting goods retailer, each own half of the joint venture.