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Monday, May 26, 2008

Parkson plans more outlets

DEPARTMENT store operator Parkson Corp Sdn Bhd aims to open two to three new stores in Malaysia each year and an average of four new stores in Vietnam.

This will add to the 34 Parkson outlets in Malaysia and five in Vietnam, that the retailer will have by end-2008.

Investments into one Parkson in Malaysia is about RM15 million, while in Vietnam it's between US$3 million and US$4 million (RM9.63 million and RM12.84 million), half of which is borne by suppliers who fit their counters in the store.

Parkson, a subsidiary of Parkson Holdings Bhd, also plans for a maiden venture into Cambodia in 2010. Its first store there will be in Phnom Penh and it plans to look for more sites to expand.

Parkson's chief operating officer Toh Peng Koon said Parkson continued to see ample opportunities for growth in Malaysia, where the market is mature and the brand is well established.

"There is still opportunity to grow in Malaysia, in places like Johor, Alor Star (Kedah), Taiping (Perak), Sabah and Sarawak and even within the Klang Valley like in Shah Alam," Toh told Business Times in an interview.

A total of five new outlets were planned for 2008, three of which have begun operations - The Spring, Kuching, Parkson Melaka Mall and Parkson East Coast Mall, Kuantan. Two new openings will be the Parkson Bunga Raya Mall in Kuala Terengganu by end-July and Parkson KBTC (Kota Baru Trade Centre) by year-end.

This will bring its total retail space in Malaysia to 3.5 million sq ft by the end of the year.

New stores in 2009/2010 include KK Times Square in Sabah and Parkson on Jalan Genting Klang, a mall that will be owned and operated by the group.

Parkson Malaysia makes up about a quarter of Parkson Holdings' gross sales.

In Vietnam, where retail development is at its infancy, Parkson has the first mover advantage. It introduced the department store concept in Vietnam three years ago and enjoys a handsome level of growth each year.

Parkson will add its fifth store in Ho Chi Minh City this July. Its first store was also opened here.

"In Vietnam, our stores are enjoying very strong growth. Same store growth is about 30 per cent," he said.

According to Toh, even prior to Parkson's opening in Hanoi last month, Parkson was quoted as the most popular brand there. Its four existing stores are located in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Hai Phong.

Parkson has also entered into a joint venture to build a mall in Vietnam. The shopping centre, with a net floor area of 11,222 sq m, forms part of a property development project comprising a hotel and office blocks with a gross development value of US$88.9 million (RM285.37 million). The project is expected to be completed in 2011.

By New Straits Times (by Vasantha Ganesan)

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