CJ Express Co, the operator of CJ Express convenience stores and CJ supermarkets, plans to invest 4 billion THB
as part of a plan to double the size of the business to fetch 20 billion THB in sales by 2020.
Managing director Sathien Setthasit said about 3.7 billion baht will be used to open 370 new CJ Express convenience stores and supermarkets this year through 2020. The remaining 300 million baht will be spent on renovating existing stor
es and upgrading other facilities. Mr Sathien expressed confidence that the investment would help boost sales to 10 billion baht this year, up from 7.4 billion last year, and ensure that the company reaches its target of 20 billion baht. in sales in 2020. The company this year made an effort to add new stores in the central region and in a 250km radius from Ratchaburi province where its distribution centre is located.
CJ Express is owned by the same stakeholders as Carabao Group, an energy drink maker, but it has separated the operations and management teams of the two units. Mr Sathien, who is also one of the founders of Carabao Group, acquired CJ Express from its former owner in Ratchaburi about four years ago after he perceived a low business opportunity in expanding energy drink production in the Thai market. Thailand’s energy drink market is 32 billion THB a year, but it has shown only slight growth over the past several years. Operating retail businesses helps the firm to manage product distribution efficiently, Mr Sathien said.
“If we are in a consumer product business, we will never be successful if we don’t have our own distribution. Convenience stores fit in with consumers’ lifestyles. People like shopping at outlets… near their homes due to busy traffic these days.”
Many more CJ Express convenience stores and supermarkets are planned Mr Sathien said CJ Express is quite strong in the central region and helps support sales of Carabao Dang energy drinks. The market share of the drink in this region outpaces that of other competitors. Besides in the central provinces, CJ Express will expand outlets to the Northeast, which supports about 30% of Thailand’s energy drink market.
The company plans to set up its own distribution centre and add new stores in the northeastern provinces next year. “We are also interested in acquiring local convenience store businesses there,” Mr Sathien.said. Competition in Thai convenience stores is intense, with strong players such as 7-Eleven and its nearly 10,000 outlets nationwide. “CJ Express does not compete directly with 7-Eleven stores,” Mr Sathien said. “Our outlets are a combination of a supermarket and convenience store.” He said CJ Express will also join forces with Topvalue, a wholly owned e-shopping site. This function will be added in the fourth quarter.