Robinson heads to Vietnam

The Central Group of Companies, Thailand's largest retail conglomerate, is expanding its presence in Vietnam with next month's launch of a Robins Department Store aimed at local shoppers.

Chief executive Tos Chirathivat said the development follows the group's successful launch of SuperSports, Crocs and New Balance stores in Vietnam through a distribution network of its subsidiaries.

Moreover, brand licensing to Vietnamese partners has highlighted the spending power of the country's 90 million residents, with more than 60% belonging to a workforce with high purchasing power.

"This makes Vietnam a target market with high potential for growth and an excellent destination for investors in the retail sector," Mr Tos said.

The first Robins store, which will also be the group's first international branch, will open in Hanoi next month.

Robinson Department Store Plc is overseeing the Vietnamese department store's operation, said president Alan Thomson.

A second Robins store in Ho Chi Minh City will be opened by the end of 2014. The two stores will together hire 1,000 workers.

The Hanoi store will occupy 10,000 square metres of retail space in Royal City, a modern megamall with 200,000 sq m of space and 5,000 residential units.

"This good location coupled with a range of quality products from leading international and local brands will ensure that the modern generation of Hanoi consumers will find everything they need at Robins," Mr Thomson said.

Vietnam's capital city and surrounding areas are showing signs of healthy and consistent growth, while average incomes appear to be on the rise.

Additionally, the influx of foreign investors into Vietnam, aimed at supporting market expansion in Southeast Asia, is driving the strong growth of its economy, leading to a positive spending pattern among target consumers over the past two years.

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