More private label brands for Thailand

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BANGKOK - Central Trading Co., major supplier of the country's largest retail chain, Central department stores, will reduce its proportion of imported goods and substitute them with pri-vate-label products.

House brands will account for 30 percent of total sales by 2005, triple the current amount, a company executive says.

"It is the right time for us to develop and market our own brands, since we have gained extensive experience in marketing and promot-ing international brands for more than five decades," says Aritat Thausangsa-Nga, VP-prestige products.

New product lines already developed by the company include Nicole cosmetics, Punch and Adofo wrist watches, as well as apparel brands AE:AQ and Letter Box.

The company's policy is to reduce imports by cutting down on selected product ranges. For example, it has curbed the number of Casio watch models it handles by 60 percent. Watches ac-count for 30 percent of the retailer's total sales.

Nicole cosmetics target pre-teen customers and university students and are already avail-able in some of the department stores. Punch and Adofo watches are also sold in selected discount stores.

"However, our policy shift does not mean we will stop exploring opportunities for import-ed goods altogether. We will merely increase the amount of very favorably-priced house brand goods to serve a budget-conscious clientele," Thausangsa-Nga explains.

This year, Central Trading is expecting rev-enue to reach $35 million, up from $28 million last year.

The company supplies 75 percent of its goods to lead-ing discount stores and department stores, not only Central, with the balance going to its 300 appointed dealerships nationwide.

Copyright December 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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