CRC bullish on Vietnam

Thai retailer to invest 50 billion baht to expand its presence

Mr Yol, right, and Mr Langlet unveiled Central Retail's five-year strategy for 2023-27 for the Vietnam market at a press conference.
Mr Yol, right, and Mr Langlet unveiled Central Retail’s five-year strategy for 2023-27 for the Vietnam market at a press conference.

Central Retail Corporation (CRC), Thailand’s biggest retailer, has unveiled its largest investment in Vietnam, totalling 50 billion baht from 2023-27 to accelerate its market presence there.

According to chief executive Yol Phokasub, CRC sees Vietnam as a high-potential market that posted continuous economic growth. With CRC’s strong foothold in the country, it set a five-year roadmap to continue its expansion there, allocating 50 billion baht over a five-year period.

CRC invested more than 10 billion baht to expand its retail business in Vietnam during 2012-2022.

Central Retail Vietnam has more than 340 stores with a total gross floor area exceeding 1.2 million square metres across 40 provinces.

The company recorded rapid sales revenue growth in the country, rising from 300 million baht in 2014 to 38.6 billion in 2021.

“Vietnam’s economy continues to grow despite uncertainties,” said Olivier Langlet, chief executive of Central Retail Vietnam.

“I expect Vietnam’s GDP to grow by 6.7% and 7.2% in 2023 and 2024, respectively, compared with 3.5% a year in Thailand over the next two years. This would make Vietnam Southeast Asia’s fastest growing market.”

The country’s urban population continues to grow alongside modern trade, which is expected to represent 13% of Vietnam’s total retail market in 2027 from 8% in 2016.

Vietnam’s retail market is estimated to be worth US$49.7 billion per year. The market is growing by 10-12% per year.

In addition, the number of international travellers is forecast to rebound to the same level as in 2019 with 19 million visitors expected this year, rising to 21 million in 2025.

Given these positive signals, Central Retail Vietnam wants to grow its food business nationwide to reinforce its leading position in Vietnam’s hypermarket segment by rebranding and renovating 10 GO! branches and expanding Tops market and Mini go! branches by adding 8-10 outlets to better serve the needs of local consumers, he said.

The company vows to strengthen its fresh food category and the non-food category to drive customer traffic via renovation, in addition to preparing for new branch launches in the future, said Mr Langlet.

He said the company plans to renovate 10-12 branches of Nguyen Kim, an electrical appliance chain, and add 3-5 new branches, including stores in its GO! malls.

Central Retail Vietnam wants to develop a loyalty platform to better serve and grow the 66 million customer transactions recorded last year, said Mr Langlet.

Under the expansion plan, Central Retail Vietnam aims to double the number of stores to 600 across 57 of the 63 provinces in Vietnam by 2027, with the gross floor area projected to reach 2 million sq m, he said.

“Central Retail Vietnam set a goal to become the No.1 food omni-channel retailer and No.2 in terms of Vietnam’s shopping malls by 2027,” said Mr Langlet. “Central Retail entered Vietnam in 2012 as a fashion retailer with only a few branches. Now it has become the largest international retailer in Vietnam, the No.1 hypermarket and the No.2 lifestyle mall.”

He said the company places great importance on sustainability across operations, installing solar cells on the rooftops of 20 GO! mall branches, EV chargers at malls and reducing single-use plastic bags.

These moves align with CRC’s mission to become “green and sustainable” retail and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, said Mr Langlet.