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Tops focusing on being small and everywhere

Central Food Retail Co (CFR), the operator of the Tops supermarket chain, will speed up expansion of Tops Daily stores and renovate its Tops Supermarket outlets, which have similar customer profiles to hypermarkets, to keep customers shopping at the chain.

Phattaraporn Phenpraphat, vice-president for marketing and public relations, said the company planned to open 100 Tops Daily supermarkets this year, three times more than last year, bringing the total to between 150 and 160. Another 200 Tops Daily stores will be added in 2012. All four Tops formats will total 250 by the end of this year.

The move to Tops Daily reflects the fact that the City Planning Act does not allow large-scale commercial buildings in many zones. Tops Daily requires only 100-200 square metres of space.

At the same time, CFR is providing a facelift to its Tops Supermarket stores with a wider range of fresh foods and new offerings for housewives and new workers.

The company began renovating three existing Tops Supermarkets in March and the remaining 50 stores will be completed over the next two years.

Ms Phattaraporn said CFR was focusing on Tops Daily and Tops Supermarket because they have customer profiles similar to hypermarkets.

She added that Tops was not worried about Tesco Lotus Extra and Big C Extra, which are offering more premium items than they did before.

”I’m not afraid of other stores because I believe in our quality and freshness and supermarket expertise,” she said.

The company has allocated about 1 billion baht for store renovations and openings this year. Yesterday, it officially relaunched its Food Hall Chidlom.

New products in the Food Hall include over 400 imported cheeses in the Cheese Room, over 3,000 organic products in the Organic Zone, and a Little Tokyo & Oriental Dining area.

”We want to improve supermarkets here to be on par with our international approach and we have over 80,000 imported items,” Ms Phattaraporn said.

The store also provides personal shoppers and consultant chefs. Sales for Tops in the first half of this year grew by 6-7%, in line with hypermarket and supermarket growth of 7%. Sales for all formats will grow by 10% by year-end.

Thailand’s retail business is expected to be worth 680 billion baht excluding fresh foods. Demand in convenience stores in the first half rose by 17%, the highest in the retail sector.

Source: Bangkok Post

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