Big C targets Cambodia’s retail dominance with store blitz
Retail giant to open hundreds of hypermarkets, supermarkets and Mini Big Cs
In the photo on the left, Thai Ambassador to Cambodia Panyarak Poolthup, Cambodian Under Secretary of State Penn Sovicheat and Suwin Somsri, Vice President of Big C Cambodia, at the opening of the first Mini Big C store in Phnom Penh on September 5.
Big C Supercenter Plc plans to increase its investment to expand its retail business in Cambodia over the next five years.
“With our five-year plan, we aim to become the # 1 retailer in Cambodia in terms of value, size and perception among Cambodian customers,” said Gary Hardy, COO.
Mr Hardy said the company will open hundreds of Big C stores of various sizes and formats, in Phnom Penh and other major cities such as Siem Reap and Battambang. Formats include hypermarkets, supermarkets and Mini Big C.
Although the exact investment figures were not disclosed, he said the expansion will be through stores he will own, although the potential of a franchise model can be explored at the to come up.
The company expanded its retail business in Cambodia by opening the first Big C hypermarket in the border town of Poipet a few years ago.
Recently, Big C opened its first Mini Big C store at Depo Market located on Jawaharlal Nehru Boulevard in Phnom Penh.
“Cambodia is the third country in Southeast Asia in which Big C has grown after successful entries in Thailand and Laos. We opened our store in Phnom Penh during the pandemic because we are optimistic about the long-term market potential, ”said Mr. Hardy.
“There are 15 million inhabitants in Cambodia and Phnom Penh is a commercial center of 2 million inhabitants. Given the similarities in tastes of Cambodians and Thais, there are opportunities to develop Big C products and brands such as Happy Price and Besico.
Logistics and a supply chain are simple to develop crossing the border from Bangkok to Poipet and from Vietnam to Phnom Penh, he said.
“We predict that Big C’s expansion in Cambodia will not only bring retail knowledge, but also create thousands of new jobs over five years,” Mr. Hardy said.
The company describes Mini Big C at Depo Market as providing an omnichannel shopping experience for Cambodian customers.
About 80% of Mini Big C Phnom Penh’s products are imported from Thailand, with 20% local products.
“The retail market in Cambodia is attractive,” he said.
“Its development is very similar to that of Thailand 20 years ago, when people switched from shopping in wet markets or food markets to the modern retail channel. In addition, there is no dominant player in the market there.
Mr Hardy admitted that there remains a tough operating environment in Cambodia, forcing the company to adapt to different laws and regulations.
Operation Big C in Cambodia is managed by a Thai team and local staff.
In addition to Cambodia, the company is committed to continuing its retail expansion in Thailand.
Big C plans to open two hypermarkets in Thailand in the fourth quarter of this year and 150 Mini Big Cs this year.
There were 1,616 Big C retail stores operating in various formats in Thailand in the second half of this year, up from 1,448 stores in the same period last year.
Of the total, 152 stores are Big C hypermarkets, 61 Big C Markets, 1,259 Mini Big C and 144 are Pure pharmacies.