New Delhi: Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group on Thursday said it plans to invest Rs1,000 crore over the next five years to open wholesale stores.
The group’s retail arm Siam Makro PCL will open 15 wholesale cash and carry stores in India starting with Delhi-NCR, over the next three years under a new brand ‘Lots Wholesale Solutions’ that the firm has created for this market. It may take this brand to neighbouring countries too.
“India and the US are the two priority markets for us for future growth. We have earlier focused on China. We hope to leverage our experience in operating cash and carry business in Thailand and other markets, to crack the Indian market," said Tanit Chearavanont, managing director of CP Wholesale India Pvt. Ltd, the local entity.
The company hopes to open its first two stores—spread over 45,000-50,000 sq. ft each in NCR by the end of the second quarter in the current fiscal year.
CP Group currently runs cash and carry businesses in Thailand, China, Cambodia and Myanmar. It has 123 Makro cash-and-carry outlets in Thailand, and 60 outlets in China under the brand Lotus.
“We bring with us 28 years of experience in serving various business-to-business customers, such as hotels, restaurants and cafes, traders and service customers, through different cash and carry formats—large and small; we are confident that we will surely be able to enhance the modern wholesale sector in totality," said Chearavanont. Hotels, restaurants and cafes, which accounts for around 28% of the company’s business in Thailand, is seen as the largest segment in India as well.
CP Group, which entered India in 2016 through CP Foods PCL, the agro-industrial and food unit of the Group, is looking at making India as its innovation hub for technology and digitization, Chearavanont added.
Sameer Singh, director (development and expansion), CP Wholesale India, said the company will look at competitive pricing to take on existing wholesalers in India. “We are also working on possible limited-period credit facilities that we would offer our customers. We are currently in discussions with banking institutions to finalize a strategy," added Singh.
CP Group enters India’s wholesale retail space about four years after French wholesale retailer Carrefour SA shut its India operations as part of its decision to pull out of underperforming markets. Carrefour, which entered India 2010, sold all its five stores in 2014.
“Time is right for entry into the India market. In the past few years, the market has been developed for wholesale retail. And, we know how to deal with difficult markets," Chearavanont said.