BANGKOK – British supermarket giant Tesco-Lotus has announced its plans to open 750 new stores in Thailand over the next three years, bringing along with it almost 10,000 jobs.
The British retail supermarket has tried and failed in many countries across the world – but Thailand has been a success story for it.
Stores in the US, China, South Korea and Japan have all shut, after former chief executive Sir Terry Leahy’s plans there failed to bear fruit, but it’s still serving more than 15 million customers every week in Thailand.
Now current chief executive Dave Lewis is expanding the chain overseas again – focusing on one country where it is winning.
“The economics of the country [Thailand] are very attractive. There is a big emerging middle class,” he explained.
Tesco – which operates under the Tesco Lotus name in the region – already has a network of about 2,000 stores across Thailand, along with online shopping platforms.
Tesco-Lotus made £4.1billion of revenue in Thailand the last financial year, making it the store’s largest market outside the UK.
The supermarket’s main competitor in the convenience market is Japanese-US business 7-Eleven – which is run locally under the CP-All brand.
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Tesco Lotus chief executive Sompong Rungnirattisai said: “With growing urbanisation, shoppers want both convenience and a good shopping experience, without compromising quality and value for money.”
“To better suit customers, we have focused on simplification, including re-arranging space in our large stores to improve shopping experience, as well as utilisation of technology and an omni-channel platform to enhance convenience.”
He added: “Our plan is to open 750 new Express stores, while refreshing existing stores over the next three years into this proposition.
“For large stores, a space re-purposing program with new offers is already under way, with 20 hypermarkets having been repurposed. In parallel, our online business will be expanded both for our own grocery home shopping platform and through other online marketplaces.”