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Central Retail Reports Successful First Half, Ambitious Plans For Expansion.


BANGKOK, Thailand - 16 August 2005 Central Retail Corporation announced a 27% growth rate during the first half of the year. The company expects to reach total 2005 sales of 70,000 million baht, a 17% increase over 2004. Central Retail also plans to open over 40 new branches.

Tos Chirathivat, CEO of Central Retail Corporation said "We're extremely pleased with the strong first half growth and overall outlook for our retail business."
"Last year we experienced a 50% increase, an extremely high growth rate. One of the factors was our decision to acquire Tops Supermarket from Royal Ahold. The policies of the Thaksin government also proved effective in building confidence for investors and consumers, resulting in a 6.3% growth in GDP."

"For 2005, however, the government may lower targeted GDP growth from the original estimate of 6% due to the negative impact of the tsunami disaster and rising oil prices. However, the government has taken several measures to stimulate the economy and encourage consumer spending. So the oil crisis has not adversely affected total sales."

Investment activities - In 2004, Central Retail invested a total of 2,000 million baht, primarily on its Central Phuket Festival project and new branch openings for Power Buy, B2S, and Supersports. Investment will more than double in 2005, to 4,500 million baht.

One of the main initiatives is the Central Retail Flagship Store project at Central World Plaza. Here Central Retail companies will have a combined retail space of 110,000 sq.m. A revamped Zen Department Store will occupy 50,000 sq.m. and Zen World Lifestyle Tower will add 30,000 sq.m. The rest of the space will be occupied by Central Retail business units, including new flagship stores of Power Buy, B2S, and Supersports. A Central Food Hall will offer the finest fresh, prepared, and packaged foods, both Asian and international. Investment in the Central World project will total 2,600 million baht.

Another initiative is the Central Town Rattanathibet project, where Central Retail will launch a new Robinson Department Store; a new, more spacious HomeWorks; and updated branches of Power Buy, Supersports, and B2S.

The next 6 months will see 30 new branch openings of Tops Supermarket, Power Buy, Supersports, B2S, HomeWorks, and Office Depot. By the end of 2005, Central Retail will have a total of 346 branch outlets under its management.

Future Plans - Central Retail achieved the goals of its previous 5-year plan, covering 2001-2005, a year early, in 2004. The company is developing a new set of goals called Vision 2010, to be completed by the end of this year. Vision 2010 will emphasize the corporationís goal to be the leading retailer in Asia. Two key strategies are regional expansion and international development of Thai brands.

Regional expansion - Central Retail's 58 years of retail experience, and its status as the largest retail group in ASEAN , give it the knowledge and resources to meet market opportunities in neighboring countries. The corporation considers Indonesia and Vietnam its best targets for expansion. Both have large populations, interesting new property developments, and similar environment, climate, culture, and consumer behavior to Thailand. The Indonesian government has invested in developing infrastructure and foreign investors are returning, which should boost spending. Vietnam is a relatively undeveloped market that is just opening to foreign investors, presenting a good opportunity for Central to be one of the first international retailers.

Developing Thai brands overseas - Central Retail's regional expansion will also be a good opportunity to establish Thai brands overseas. International consumers desire a variety of brands from all over the world. Thai manufacturers are developing higher quality products and the country's reputation for unique fashion and value is drawing more attention from the world press. Central Retail supports government policies that encourage the building of Thai brands overseas, or "OBM" (Oversea Brand Marketing).

Central Retail is in a unique position to support this effort. Its 3,000 Thai suppliers of clothing, accessories, and home products represent the best of Thai quality, fashion, and value. Suppliers have confidence in Central Retailís brand-building efforts, and likewise have regional aspirations to complement the corporationís planned expansion.


For more info, please contact CRC Corporate Communication @ 02.650.3600 ext. 1543

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