Mr Suthisarn said CRC Thai Watsadu is ready to resume aggressive investment this year.
Boosted by the improving Covid-19 situation and state stimulus measures, CRC Thai Watsadu Co, a home improvement and material construction unit under Central Retail Corporation (CRC), looks set to resume investment in domestic and overseas markets.
According to chief executive Suthisarn Chirathivat, the company plans to allocate 7 billion baht per year to expand between 2022 and 2026.
“Our sales in the first quarter, which grew by double digits, and the continued easing of Covid restrictions encouraged us to resume active investment this year,” Mr Suthisarn said.
According to Mr Suthisarn, the business expansion will be based on five initiatives: thriving; seamless omnichannel shopping experience; supply chain and logistics expansion; driving sustainability; and new market penetration.
For the thriving strategy, Mr Suthisarn said the company increased its investment budget to 7 billion baht in 2022, up from 2 billion baht last year. The investment budget will be slated mainly to develop new stores, buy new land plots, renovate existing stores, upgrade IT systems and to study the feasibility of expanding into new markets in Asean.
CRC Thai Watsadu plans to open new 88 stores in all formats and brands, bringing the total stores under Thai Watsadu to 183 in 2022. Of the total, 125 stores are upcountry and the remaining 58 stores are in Bangkok.
In 2021, the company opened five Thai Watsadu outlets.
Moreover, Mr Suthisarn said the company will provide new service experiences in its multi-brands and formats of Thai Watsadu: BnB home, home decoration and furnishings; AUTO1, a fast-fit auto service; and go!WOW, a do-it-yourself shop, as well as the diversification of multi ranges of product categories to meet all consumer segments’ needs.
CRC Thai Watsadu has expanded into construction materials and home furnishings over the past 12 years.
Mr Suthisarn said the company aims to increase the growth of its online channel business by 150% in 2022. It also plans to launch the “Thai Watsadu” mobile application in May, followed by the BnB home and AUTO1 apps.
It will expand new warehouse space of more than 160,000 square metres this year, a 120% increase in storage capacity over 2014. This is to support the expansion of Thai Watsadu and BnB home branches, as well as accommodate future growth of the go!WOW DIY shop over the next five years.
“In the last two years, all global retailers have encountered myriad challenges. However, with continued adaption, we were able to turn the business around and expand further,” he said.
Currently, sales of Thai Watsadu are over 30 billion baht.
In addition to the domestic market, the firm is also conducting a feasibility study on branching out into Asean countries.
“In earlier plans, we planned to expand abroad this year, but this was postponed due to the pandemic,” he said. “Within 1-2 months, we are scheduled to go overseas to survey the market. In my opinion, we prefer Indonesia and the Philippines which are relatively big markets.”