Story of Our Heritage

From family shop to retail conglomerate

Central Retail as we know it today evolved from Tiang Chirathivat’s small family shop he started in 1947. Together with his son Samrit Chirathivat, the business expanded over the years and the first Central Department Store was unveiled in Bangkok’s Wang Burapha district in 1956. The founders, along with the help of other family members, ran the business hands on, taking the company to flight.

Amidst an era where trade was flourishing, Tiang and Samrit were recognised as visionaries that revolutionised retail by pioneering never-before experiences in Thailand. Under the care of the Chirathivat family, Central Group has grown to become one of Thailand’s most recognisable brands and amongst the most successful retail conglomerates in Southeast Asia.

The Chirathivat family’s vision for the business has lived on from generation to generation. And today, the business continues to expand with an omnichannel platform, driving growth and reinforcing Central Retail’s leadership position across multiple retail categories.

Timeline of our milestones

Where legacy lives on

In over 70 years of our journey we have been alongside our customers, Central Retail has witnessed many key milestones that continue to shape and evolve who we are today. In celebration of our journey so far, we look back into some of these milestones:

1947
Small shop house opens in Bangkok.
1950
Importing business begins as “Central Trading,” which later becomes a part of Central Marketing Group (CMG).
1956
The first Central Department Store opens in Wang Burapha district.
1974
The iconic Central Chidlom flagship store opens.
1990
The lifestyle department store Zen department stores (Currently, CENTRAL@centralwOrld) opens and Central Retail Corporation Limited is incorporated.
1992
The First Central Department Store outside Bangkok opens in Chiang Mai province, signaling expansion into upcountry Thailand.
1995
The Company acquired majority stake in Robinson Department Store.
1996
Launched new specialty format Tops Supermarket, which is now the largest supermarket chain in Thailand.
1997
New specialty formats open, including Power Buy and Supersports, and we enter new retail categories.
2005
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great grants Central Department Store the right to use the Royal Garuda Emblem.
2010
Our first large standalone specialty formats open with Thai Watsadu. The first Robinson Lifestyle Center opens in Trang, establishing our model for expansion and penetration in upcountry markets.
2011
Acquisition of the Rinascente collection of luxury department stores in Italy marks our entry into the EU market.
2012
The Company began its joint venture for FamilyMart in Thailand.
2013
The first webstore, www.central.co.th, debuts for Central Department Store.
2015
The Company began joint ventures for Nguyen Kim and Lanchi Mart in Vietnam.
2016
The Company acquired Big C in Vietnam.
2017

The new digitally assisted shopping platforms such as “Rinascente ON DEMAND” and “Chat & Shop” are launched.

Central Retail changed its business structure to prepare for an initial public offering (IPO) and a listing of its shares on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET).

2018
The Company launched Big C rebranding with the first “GO!” retail banner for hypermarkets in Vietnam as part of expansion strategy.
2019

Central Retail was converted into a public company limited and made a tender offer for all securities of Robinson Public Company Limited (ROBINS) as well as delisted the securities of ROBINS from the SET.

Moreover, Central Retail acquired the remaining shares of Nguyen Kim in Vietnam.

Central Retail also launched Rinascente, Turin branch, in Italy, after its renovation with expanded space and up to 1,000 brands as well as new zones for jewelry and famous restaurants in order to provide a comprehensive range of products and services.

2020

February Central Retail made a debut on the SET on 20 February 2020. It was enthroned as the largest ever IPO in the history of the SET. The Central Retail stock met the fast-track criteria of listing on the SET 50 and MSCI Global Standard Indexes. Central Retail also opened GO! Tra Vinh branch, in Vietnam and Thai Watsadu, Petchburi branch, Thailand.

March As the COVID-19 outbreak, Central Retail therefore developed a comprehensive omnichannel platform, e.g., Central Retail’s e-commerce website for 24-hour online shopping, for example, Chat & Shop, Click & Collect, Mobile Application, and drive-thru and delivery, which can cater to all consumer needs like the department stores reach out to the customers.

April Central Retail launched Robinson Lifestyle Center Bowin to meet the needs of customers and offer them an Eat-Shop-Play experience at a one-stop destination.

May Central Retail announced its “5 Ready Prompt Strategy” to respond to the challenges presented by the New Normal which was actually developed into the Now Normal. The latter served as a key driver behind Central Retail & Service Platform in Thailand. In addition, Central Retail opened GO! in Quang Ngai, Vietnam. Furthermore, Central Retail also acquired an additional 49% interest in Central FamilyMart Co., Ltd, increasing its ownership interest from 51% to 100%.

June Rinascente in Italy fully offered an omnichannel platform through www.rinascente.it to seamlessly merge offline and online shopping experiences with the latest shopping channel, Click & Collect, where customers can make online payments and collect products at every branch of Rinascente nationwide. In Thailand, Central Retail debuted “Power Buy x B2S”. Moreover, the Central Retail stock was included in the FTSE SET Large Cap Index.

July Central Retail opened GO! in Buon Ma Thuot, Vietnam to offer an Eat-Shop-Play experience at a one-stop destination.

August Central Retail launched Thai Watsadu, Amata Nakhon branch, in a small format. The selling space was expanded to increasingly reach the communities. It also offered a comprehensive list of products to customers.

September Central Retail announced a strategic plan to combine the strengths of Central and Robinson Department Stores to be the first omnichannel department store in Thailand. Those strengths will ensure an extensive coverage of department store chains nationwide and a more robust and complete omnichannel platform.

Moreover, the Board of Directors, at the meeting held on 14 September 2020, resolved to approve the acquisition of COL Public Company Limited (COL) by making a tender offer for all 640 million shares of COL and delisting them from the SET at a price of 19 Baht per share, valuing at THB 12.16 billion. The COL is a supplier of stationery, office supplies, books, entertainment media, and lifestyle products under OfficeMate and B2S brands. In Vietnam, Central Retail launched the first branch of go! in Tam Ky, located in Central Vietnam.

October Central Retail launched GO! in Ben Tre, Vietnam.

December Central Department Store debuted a Central mobile application to elevate shopping experience on the omnichannel platform. The customers can buy all products of Central Retail and get shopping privilege on both Central department store and Central App. Moreover, Central Retail opened 5 branches of hypermarkets rebranded from Big C to GO! in Vietnam.