|Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong|
|Mr. Aswin Techajareonvikul, CEO |
Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, Chairman
|Products||Discount Stores, Grocery Stores, Hypermarkets|
|Revenue||140 billion baht (2018)|
|6,976 million baht (FY2013)|
Number of employees
|Parent||TCC Group (Thailand, Laos and Cambodia)|
Central Group & Nguyen Kim Group (Vietnam)
Big C (Thai: บิ๊กซี ซูเปอร์เซ็นเตอร์), is a grocery and general merchandising retailer headquartered in Bangkok, Thailand. Big C is as of 2016 Thailand's second-largest hypermarket operator after Lotus's (formerly known as Tesco Lotus). It has operations in four countries, namely Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
The company was founded by Central Group in 1993 and the first Big C opened on Chaengwattana Road in Bangkok in 1994, prior to the company becoming listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) in 1995. As of 2019[update] Big C operates 153 hypermarkets, 63 Big C markets, and 1,018 Mini Big C stores.
Central Group opened the Central Superstore at the Wong Sawang intersection in 1993 as a Central Department Store subsidiary. It began selling groceries from Central Supermarket and private label clothing from Central Department Store and Central Trading, under the self-service store concept.
The Big C brand was first launched on 15 January 1994, the name being an abbreviation of "Big Central". The name as since been modified to have a different meaning. That of 'Big' meaning 'a large area with various services and facilities for customers and also covers a wide variety of products that Big C selects to sell to meet all customers' needs'; whilst the 'C' means customers who have always supported Big C well'.
The first Big C store was opened on Chaengwattana Road in Bangkok.
Save One Rangsit was changed to the Big C Supercenter in 1995, and was the chain's first store outside Bangkok. The same year, Central Superstore Company Limited changed its name to Big C Supercenter Public Company Limited, and was listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) (SET: BIGC) with S.K. Garment PLC holding a majority stake.
Big C launched the single floor store concept at Bangphlee in 1996, integrating a super center 12,000 m2 floor space and a layout and decor to facilitate shopping. The efficient design contributed to lower operating costs.
Merger with Groupe Casino
After the Asian financial crisis of 1997, Big C Supercenter PCL formed a business alliance with France-based Groupe Casino, known for its Géant stores. Groupe Casino bought 530 million shares of a capital increase in 1999, making them the largest shareholder after the company's recapitalization. After securing the controlling stake in Big C, Groupe Casino sold Big C's garment business in order to concentrate only on retail activity to strengthen the efficiency of the operation.
Big C extended its business hours from 08:00 to midnight daily and launched the Big C website in 2000. Two years later, Big C launched a hard-discount supermarket chain, "Leader Price by Big C", an affiliate store similar to the Leader Price brand of Groupe Casino. In the same year, Big C launched its first credit card, "Big C Credit Card", and "Big C Hire-Purchase". Big C Foundation (Thai: มูลนิธิบิ๊กซี) was also launched in 2002, with its main objectives including providing necessary assistance and support for children in terms of education, and offering opportunities for education to those suffering as a result of social abuses or the drug trade.
Big C developed and expanded the "Compact Store" concept in 2005. Compact Stores each require an investment of between 300 and 400 million baht, and have an average retail space of 5,000-6,000 square metres, whereas Big C's standard stores have retail space of about 10,000 square metres and require an investment of between 600-700 million baht. In May 2005, the "Big C Shopper Card" was launched, which was a hire-purchase card.
In 2006, Leader Price by Big C was remodeled into "Mini Big C" (Thai: มินิบิ๊กซี), a proximity store format offering 24-hour service. Big C launched yet another new brand store format in July 2010 called "Big C Junior" (Thai: บิ๊กซี จูเนียร์), which is sized midway between a compact store and a supermarket.
"Big C" was used for the first time outside Thailand at the end of 2003, with the rebranding of three Cora hypermarkets in Vietnam. The stores were owned by Vindemia, a Groupe Bourbon company in Réunion. Casino took control of Vindemia, and the Big C Supercenter banner is used for these stores.
In November 2010, Big C won a bid to buy the 42 Carrefour branches in Thailand for €868 million (35.4 billion baht). After the acquisition, Groupe Casino, whose Thai subsidiary is Big C Supercenter PCL, owned 111 hypermarkets versus Tesco's 87. However, if other retail formats are included, Tesco is larger with some 704 stores nationwide.
Big C and Carrefour branches in Thailand had their first co-promotion in January 2011, before Carrefour Thailand stores were rebranded as Big C. In March 2011, Carrefour Suwintawong was the first Carrefour store to be rebranded as a Big C.
In 2013, Big C main competitor, Lotus's, was ordered by the Civil Court of Thailand to pay ฿4 million to Big C following from a campaign in 2011 by Ek-chai Distribution Centre to use Carrefour coupons. Carrefour was at that time the local operator of Lotus's hypermarkets, but was later taken over by Big C which caused the lawsuit. In the lawsuit, Big C claimed damages of ฿416 million.
Ownership under Thai Charoen Corporation
Groupe Casino SA agreed in February 2016 to sell its stake in Thai hypermarket operator Big C for €3.1 billion (US$3.46 billion) to Thai billionaire, Mr Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi. His holding company, TCC Group, will buy Casino's 58.6% stake in Big C Thailand for 252.88 baht a share (US$7.10), a price that values Big C close to US$5.86 billion. The sale, expected to completed by 31 March, will allow Casino to reduce its debt level by €3.3 billion. The retailer launched a €4 billion deleveraging plan in 2016 which included selling its stake in Big C as well as Vietnam retail assets.
On 9 May 2017, a Big C supermarket in Pattani was the subject of a terrorist attack which injured around 80 people.
In January 2020, CEO Aswin Techajareonvikul acknowledged the company's intent to acquire Lotus's and Big C submitted a bid. However, following financial troubles caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Big C did not acquire Lotus's. The attack was most likely perpetratored by local Muslim residents, although Lieutanant General Piyawat Nakwanich said that it was most likely a reaction against the prescence of big businesses in the area.
In 2023, Big C took over 24 AbouThai stores in Hong Kong with plans to rebrand them as Big C. In August, the CEO announced plans for Big C to be dual listed on the Stock Exchanges of Thailand and Hong Kong during the fourth quarter. On 29 August, Big C postponed its return to the Stock Exchange of Thailand due to market conditions caused by the political climate of deadlock following the 2023 elections.
- Big C Supercenter (Thai: บิ๊กซี ซูเปอร์เซ็นเตอร์) A Big C Supercenter is a hypermarket targeting mid-to-low income customers offering value through combination of low prices, wide selection, clean and efficient shopping environment, and good service.: 10 There are 105 Big C Supercenters in Thailand as of 2016.
- Big C Extra (Thai: บิ๊กซี เอ็กซ์ตร้า) is a hypermarket targeting mid- to high-income customers. It offers a wider range of premium fresh and dry food items, imported products, and wine than a Big C Supercenter.: 10 . There are 15 Big C Extra stores in Thailand (2016).
- Big C Plaza (Thai: บิ๊กซี พลาซา) is a Plaza Style, under Big C Rama 4 Renovation New Building.
- Big C Foodplace (Thai: บิ๊กซี ฟู้ดเพลส) is a supermarket with their first branch located at Gateway at Bang Sue, opened at 30 November 2018 with another Big C Foodplace branch opened at Samyan Mitrtown on 20 September 2019 as 24/7 store.
- Big C Market (Thai: บิ๊กซี มาร์เก็ต) is a supermarket format, targeting mid- to low-income customer. The smaller size of a Big C Market enables penetration in areas outside the main district of a province. It is designed to be the largest modern retailer in its service area. The stores differ from traditional supermarkets that concentrate mainly on food by offering a range of products from fresh food to electronics.: 10 As of 2016, there are 31 Big C Markets scattered around Thailand.
- Mini Big C (Thai: มินิบิ๊กซี) Mini Big C is a "proximity store" format targeting mid- to low-income customers. Mini Big C stores carry a larger assortment than typical convenience stores and offer selected promotional items.: 11 The average size of a Mini Big C store is around 80–250 m2, open 24/7. There are 394 Mini Big C stores in Thailand (2016).
- Pure by Big C (Thai: เพียว บาย บิ๊กซี) is a drugstore format offering pharmaceutical, health, beauty, and wellness products. Most of Pure drugs, Promotion, Blond Kid, ores are in Big C hypermarkets and Big C Markets.: 11 There are 134 Pure outlets in Thailand (2016).
Outside of Thailand
41 M-Point Mart stores in Vientiane were rebranded to Mini Big C in June 2019. In early 2023, Big C began construction on its first hypermarket in Vientiane with the aim of opening in April 2024. Construction is being supported by Lao investors.
There are currently 51 Mini Big C branches operating in Vientiane. Big C's products in Laos differs from stores in other countries, as Lao stores instead have more products that appeal better to the Lao market. Products are either sourced locally, or imported from Thailand, Vietnam, China or Europe. Products produced in Laos are also being distributed by Big C to stores across different countries in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. The two singed on 19 November 2020 a Memorandum of Understanding.
Big C opened its first Cambodian store in Poipet on 4 December 2019. The company invested 300 million baht to build Big C Poipet on 20 rai. The hypermarket is 8,000 m2, with 3,000 m2 of sales area and rental space of 5,000 m2. In 2022, Big C acquired Kiwi Mart and its 18 stores. On 5 September 2021, Big C opened its first store in Phnom Penh. Its opening was atteneded by government officals, business people and the Thai ambassador. On 16 September, it opened its first Big C Mini in Phnom Penh. In early 2023, Big C partnered with the Overseas Cambodian Investment Corporation (OCIC) to construct the first hypermarket in Khan Chroy Changvar.
Big C plans to open five or six Big C hypermarket stores in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap over the next two years. They plan open 350 stores in the country in every province of Cambodia over the next 5 years.
Big C has 35 stores throughout Vietnam and all of them are owned by Central Group, which will begin rebranding under its GO! retail brand. Berli Jucker, which owns a majority stake in Big C in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, will invest one billion baht in 2020 to open three MM Mega Market wholesale stores in Vietnam next year, bringing the total number of MM Mega Market stores there to 21 branches.
On 23 August 2023, Big C has acquired local Thai brand AbouThai and rebranded into Big C convenient stores. By 2026, Big C will expand its network to 100 locations in Hong Kong.
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