New winning strategy combining online and retail platforms unveiled by the Central and Robinson department store chain which is to accelerate expansion in Thailand despite this year’s coronavirus emergency and lockdown.

Despite this years’ coronavirus which has inflicted catastrophe on the Thai economy and the challenging nature of retail concerns in an emerging new online world, one Thai department store group is bucking the trend. This week, the Central Retail Group announced a new synergy for its Central and Robinson department store businesses involving an online click and collect channel as well as more rapid expansion of the group.

Thailand’s two main department store brands are to be combined in a new ‘omnichannel’ department store offering.

Nicolo Galente the President of Central Retail Corporation this week explained the retailing groups’ positive outlook for Thailand’s Central and Robinson department stores which appear to be bucking the global trends driven by the virus and the online challenge to retailing by adapting a customer-centric, online and expansion strategy.

The news comes from Central Retail Corporation which is the retail arm of the SET-listed Central Group which runs a network of huge shopping malls across Thailand.

The positive news from the retail group is surprising given this year’s disastrous coronavirus lockdown and declining earnings for many Thai workers in the labour market but it appears that the retail group has found a successful way forward.

Two strong brands in Thai retail

Nicolo Galente is the President of Central Retail Corporation (CRC).

‘For decades, Central and Robinson have been pioneers in Thailand’s retail industry, from launching the first department store to launching the first lifestyle mall in Thailand,’ said Mr Galente this week.

Synergy between the stores but identities will be retained with new ‘omnichannel platform’

The new business strategy will see the operations of both department store chains combined although the two distinctive brands will be retained.

Five million people, every year, shop at either a Central or Robinson department store which are popular retail stops in Thailand among foreigners and expats for fashion, lifestyle and household goods.

‘The consolidation will create a unique nationwide store network, which will be the basis of our omnichannel platform. The network allows customers to access a wide variety of quality products and unique service offerings that suit their lifestyle, such as Click & Collect, where customers can order online 24/7 and collect their order at any of the 74 Central and Robinson stores nationwide,’ explained Mr Galente.

Expansion of store network to be speeded up

As part of the new business strategy, it is understood that plans to expand the chain of stores will be speeded up with five new Central and Robinson stores being opened every year instead of two according to the retailer.

Mr Galente revealed that a recent ‘mega sale’ offering combining the group’s new omnichannel offering succeeded in delivering a 200% increase in sales in comparison to the same period last year.

‘With this new chapter of our business, we want to ensure we continue to grow and create a winning company for the long term, achieving leadership status by 2024 for both in-store and online, as well as contributing to improving Thailand’s economy and standard of living,’ he concluded.

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