CJ Express forges ahead with store expansion drive

CJ Express forges ahead with store expansion drive

Mr Veeratham said the company plans to double its stores to 1,500 branches over the next three years.

CJ Express Group, the operator of CJ Supermarket, is continuing with its investment plan despite the threat of Covid-19 headwinds, allocating 7.5-11.25 billion baht to double its number of stores.

Veeratham Setthasit, the company’s chief executive, said the firm plans to double its stores to 1,500 branches over the next three years, up from 750 by the end of 2021.

With this expansion plan, the company expects its sales to triple to 60 billion baht by 2024. Of the 750 new stores, 250 are due to open next year under the CJ More super-convenience store format, with the remaining 500 branches scheduled for 2023-24 in both the convenience and supermarket formats.

According to Mr Veeratham, the firm will put more of a focus on expanding via the CJ More super-convenience format because the supermarket store business is considered volatile and insecure.

The CJ More super-convenience stores have a retail space of 600-750 square metres, bigger than the supermarket format. Therefore they can serve over 1,000 customers a day, compared with more than 100 customers for the CJ supermarket store.

The firm operates 720 CJ stores and expects them to reach 750 by the end of this year, up from 576 stores in 2020. Its total sales are also expected to increase by 40% this year to 20 billion baht.

Of the total 750 stores in 2021, 300 are in the supermarket format and the remaining 450 belong to the super-convenience format.

Sixty stores are in Bangkok, with the remaining 690 in the provinces.

“Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve never stopped investing. We aim to open 170 new CJ stores this year and move at a faster pace next year because our business has fared well despite two years of the pandemic,” Mr Veeratham said.

He said the company’s sales growth was due to a thorough understanding of customers’ demands and heavy price promotions.

The pandemic has also pushed more customers to shop close to their homes, Mr Veeratham added.

In a related development, the company yesterday teamed up with Walt Disney (Thailand) to sell the latter’s Uno lifestyle products at the CJ More store. Under the collaboration, Uno lifestyle, fashion, stationery and electronics products will feature Disney’s famous cartoons and designs in the Uno zone at CJ More stores for one year.

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