Central Group also revealed supplying contracts between the group and eight out of 169 suppliers have expired, and the parties are under the process of negotiating for contract renewal.
At the meeting, Central Group Representative Chiathivat said the Thai company is committed to expanding its investment in Vietnam.
On July 2, Central Group Vietnam released an announcement on the suspension of buying soft-line products from all soft-line suppliers in Vietnam, effective from July 2019, raising concern that Big C would gradually phase out Vietnamese products for imported ones.
In a meeting on July 4 between Deputy Minister Hai and Central Group Vietnam, the latter explained the suspension of the ordering was owing to a change in the strategy of development of its soft-line concept with a shift towards products for higher customer segments.
Central Group Vietnam is a member of Central Group, which has been present in Vietnam since July 2011. Its business activities in Vietnam range from electronics, sports, fashion, shopping centers and hotels to e-commerce and supermarkets.
The group made headlines in Vietnam following its acquisition of a chain of 33 supermarkets and hypermarkets owned by Big C for US$1.05 billion in April 2016.
In April 2019, Central Group’s CEO Nicolo Galante said in an interview with Bloomberg that the group considered Vietnam its number one target for investment expansion, which is one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
According to Galante, Central Group is currently the largest foreign retailer operating in Vietnam and the plan is clear, aimed to maintain its status in the country.
Last August, CEO of Central Group Vietnam Philippe Broianigo revealed a plan to invest an additional US$500 million in Vietnam’s retail market in the next five years, taking the total investment capital of Central Group in Vietnam since 2012 to US$2 billion.
Store penetration in Vietnam is 250 stores covering 700,000 square feet in more than 37 provinces/cities and the group plans to reach 720 stores by 2020, Broianigo said in a press conference in Bangkok on August 22, 2018.