Jun 15, 2016
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Thailand's Central Group eyes 50 pct rise in Europe store sales by 2020

Jun 15, 2016

Thailand's Central Group aims to boost revenue over 50 percent at its European department stores by 2020, and expects Europe's luxury market to provide the bulk of its sales growth over the next five years, a top Central executive said on Wednesday.

CentralWorld shopping complex, Bangkok - CPN

Central Group, controlled by Thailand's third-richest family the Chirathivats, has stores in Germany, Italy and Denmark.

The group is targeting European store sales of 2 billion euros ($2.24 billion) in 2020 from 1.3 billion euros in 2016, said Central's department store unit chief executive Yuwadee Chirathivat on Wednesday.

The group was targeting an average of 20 percent per year in sales growth in Europe, she added.

That would account for most of the increase in the unit's revenue to 130 billion baht ($3.68 billion) by 2020, up from a range of 90 billion baht to 100 billion baht in 2016, she said at a press conference.

The rate of expansion through acquisition would slow after Central's recent purchase of French group Casino's stake in superstore chain Big C Vietnam, she said.

"We are not in a hurry to acquire new ones," she said. "We have to make money first."

The growing number of billionaires around the globe is helping to boost the luxury market that Central is targeting, she said.

The company's Milan store saw growth of 21 percent in sales in 2015, she said. The firm is on track to open a new flagship store in Rome in 2017, she added.

Central Group bought fashion-focused e-commerce site Zalora in April as part of a push to expand its presence online to win back shoppers who increasingly prefer internet shopping.

E-commerce in Southeast Asia has become a focus for consumer firms. China's biggest e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd in April announced a deal to buy a controlling stake in Southeast Asian online retailer Lazada Group for about $1 billion.

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