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Retail

Thai mall operator plots expansion across Vietnam

Central to operate in 55 of the country's 63 provinces

A Central-operated store in Vietnam: The Thai group is accelerating its expansion into the neighboring market. (Photo courtesy of Central Group)

BANGKOK -- Thailand's Central Retail plans a larger presence in Vietnam, looking to reach nearly 90% of the country's provinces in the next five years, as the company aims to reduce dependence on its home market.

Vietnam succeeded in containing the coronavirus early on, and suffered less of an economic blow from the pandemic compared with neighbors. Central Retail, an arm of Thai retail conglomerate Central Group, is eager to tap Vietnam's continued growth and economic potential.

"We will continuously seek opportunities for expansion and invest in Vietnam," Central Retail CEO Yol Phokasub said.

The retailer intends to have operations in 55 of Vietnam's 63 provinces and nationally run cities, up from the current 39. As part of Central's expansion, it will open six new GO! Mall locations and convert four Big C supermarkets into malls in the Southeast Asian country this year.

Central Retail operates 35 malls and about 230 supermarkets, electronics stores and other retailers in Vietnam. The country accounted for about 20% of total revenue in 2019, making it the largest market for the company after Thailand.

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