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Sahapat launches regional strategy

Upcountry focus for Beyond sporting goods

Sahapat chairman Boonchai Chokwatana (centre) with senior vice-president Pasook Raksawonkse (left) and vice-president Vathit Chokwatana.

SET-listed Saha Pathanapibul Plc (SPC), the marketing arm of consumer goods giant Saha Group, has revised its business strategy in order to increase sales to 33 billion baht this year despite fierce competition.

Chairman Boonchai Chokwatana said the company, known as Sahapat for short, has been applying local marketing campaigns to fit consumers in each region, replacing a nationwide strategy, in a bid to enhance marketing efficiency and improve the bottom line.

Local marketing campaigns for Sahapat's distributed products will start in the Northeast before moving to other regions.

Moreover, the company recently introduced its own sporting goods store under the Beyond brand.

Sahapat was previously the distributor of Nike sporting goods, but the contract ended last year. Sahapat lost about 200 million baht from the contract's termination.

To compensate, the company was appointed by Under Armour, an American maker of sporting apparel, as the latter's distributor in Thailand, with a focus on upcountry markets.

Sahapat gradually closed Nike stores last year and will convert all of them to the Beyond brand soon. The first Beyond shop opened in Ubon Ratchathani in March, and an additional 10-20 branches will be converted from Nike stores.

Furthermore, Sahapat has developed an internal strategy through strategic marketing. A strategic marketing planner is provided in each department to enable employees to find the most appropriate marketing strategy and product development for each product.

Mr Boonchai said the company will expand its distribution channels to popular tourist destinations such as Pak Chong, Khao Yai, Pattaya and Phuket.

Vice-president Vathit Chokwatana said he is conducting a feasibility study on expanding Sahapat's central warehouse in Sri Racha district, Chon Buri to 50,000 square metres from the current 30,000 sq m to support the future growth of business-to-business (B2B) activity.

The additional 20,000 sq m is expected to require an investment of 600 million baht.

Sahapat has invested more than 30 million baht to develop a world-class security and data centre to foster IT expansion. The data centre will open next week.

The company applied B2B ordering at its client shops in Bangkok last year and will extend the system to upcountry customers this year. The data centre will service the company's business-to-consumer expansion.

Mr Boonchai said sales in 2016 grew by 13.2% to 32.84 billion baht, exceeding the growth target of 10%, as Sahapat got a contract to distribute Mitr Phol sugar worth 3.66 billion baht in sales.

The company expects sales to reach 33 billion baht this year.

"Consumer purchasing power in the first two months of the year was better, and I believe the economy continues to grow steadily," Mr Boonchai said.

SPC shares closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 46 baht, up 50 satang, in thin trade worth 207,060 baht.

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