In early 2017, the retail chain was renamed MM Mega Market. With MM Mega Market alone, BJC has 19 shopping centers, 3 entrepots in Da Lat (fresh vegetables and fruits), Dong Nai (fresh pork), Can Tho (seafood) and two general storehouses. Besides, it also has B’s Mart with the network covering large cities.
The number of distribution centers remains unchanged, but there have been big changes in the structure of goods displayed in the chain with increasingly high proportion of Thai-made products available.
In a strategy to conquer the ASEAN market, Central Group, another investor from Thailand, acquired a 50% stake of Nguyen Kim, a home appliance retail chain. Later, it took over 43 shops and 30 Big C supermarkets from the French Casino Group.
The US$1 billion deal once again stirred up the Vietnamese retail market, especially when the Thai investor won its rivals to obtain Big C.
One of the rivals was Saigon Co-op, which runs 600 retail points and owns different retail models: shopping mall SC Vivo City and Sense City, hypermarket Co.op Xtra, supermarket Co-opmart food shop Co.op Food, modern department store Co.opSmile and convenience store 24h Cheers.
Central Group has made additional investments to upgrade Big C network. In 2017-2021, it plans to spend US$30 million to upgrade 13 out of 34 retail centers into larger shopping centers.
Analysts say Thai retailers are now an ‘emerging big power’ in the domestic retail market. After the Big C transfer deal, 50% of Vietnam’s retail market share is being held by Thai investors.
Dinh Thi My Loan, chair of the Vietnam Retailers Association, said that M&A deals have made the retail market busier, and that more M&A deals will be made in the future because of the high interest of foreign investors in the Vietnamese market.
Despite the trouble related to tax arrears collection at Nguyen Kim, Central Group has announced it will pour US$500 million into Vietnam which will be used to increase the number of shops and shopping centers to 750 by 2020.
Central Group has become a familiar name in Vietnam as it is the buyer in many M&A deals. Sources said it’s total investment capital in Vietnam may reach US$5.5 billion.