The Mall Group, Thailand’s second largest department store operator, will be investing 350 million baht (US$9 million) to revamp its Home Fresh Mart supermarkets to attract customers from the higher income group with better product quality and variety.
According to Luckana Naviroj, executive director of Mall Group, this is a response inclined to changing consumption trends toward food safety and a larger emphasis on health foods. “We want to move away from the low-end market and lift our standards to differentiate us from general fresh markets,” said Luckana.
The Home Fresh Mart at The Mall Bangkapi has been revamped at an investment of 50 million baht to serve as a prototype for its counterpart stores and renovations at the outlets in Ngam Wong Wan, Bang Khae, Ta Phra, and Ramkhamhaeng are expected be completed by mid-2005.
A new logo, improved signage, a redesigned floor layout with wider aisles, as well as new display shelves and furnishings are the key changes in the revamp.
The products on the supermarket shelves have also been reorganised to present increased variety, as well as focus on premium items like white shrimp and other frozen seafood products. This move will result in a 20% price increase for all Home Fresh Marts, each of which carries more than 13,000 fresh-food items from more than 650 vendors, and 30,000 different grocery goods from 1,000 suppliers.
The group also expects to increase the number of high-salaried customers (those earning monthly salaries of more than 20,000 baht) from 30% to 50% by selling healthier and safe food like organically raised pork and poultry. At present, 70% of customers visiting Home Fresh Marts are from the middle-income group.
"We think we are moving in the right direction. The hygienic meat products we introduced last year were well accepted by our customers, with year-on-year sales of meat and poultry up by 20%," said Luckana.
The sale of fresh food and grocery products at all Home Fresh Marts totaled 4 billion baht last year, an increase of 20% over 2002. The group expects to sustain the growth in 2004..