With competition high, both retailers and mall operators are looking globally in order to stay relevant. Moving overseas helps Thai companies find opportunities outside of the domestic market which is struggling, according to CBRE. Meanwhile, retail landlords abroad are welcoming to Thai retail outlets as they can add excitement for shoppers.
Thai retailers continue to look for new growth opportunities abroad and have been able to use both organic and inorganic growth to establish their presence in markets outside of the Kingdom. HomePro is a good example of this. The company has used its organic growth to help it open 4 stores in Malaysia.
Food retailers have also found success outside of Thailand and continue to increase their efforts overseas. MK Group, the operator of MK and Yayoi restaurant, has now opened stores Vietnam, Japan, Singapore, and Laos. Its biggest market is Japan where it has 33 branches while there are 8 outlets in Singapore.
There have been several deals by big Thai retail groups to help them expand internationally in the past few years. Central Group purchased Nguyen Kim, Vietnam’s leading electronics retailer, in 2015 to help it establish a foothold in the country, reports CBRE. In 2016, TCC Group bought Metro Vietnam, a cash & carry business, while the Central Group purchased Big C Vietnam in an attempt to further its reach.
“While mature markets remain the preferred option for retail expansion by new entrants, emerging markets are gaining popularity and will be an important source of growth for retailers. As with the examples of Thai retail expansion, a growing number of Asian retailers are expanding beyond their domestic markets. The popular F&B sector remains the dominant sector for new retail entrants and a vital element for “retail-tainment” to combat the growing threat of e-commerce,” says Chotika Tungsirisurp, Associate Director at CBRE Thailand, to the Bangkok Post.