Tesco disappears from Southeast Asia

Tesco Louts sign and Lotus's store. Photos: Jpirakun/Dreamstime/Bangkok News
Before Tesco Lotus, Now Lotus’s. Photos: Jpirakun/Dreamstime/Bangkok News
By Reidar Molthe

24 February 2021 12:56

Tesco disappears from Southeast Asia

The massive private Thai group, Charoen Pokphand, rebrands all former Tesco stores in Malaysia and Thailand to Lotus’s. No more Tesco in Thailand and Southeast Asia.

The Charoen Pokphand Group

The Charoen Pokphand Group is a Thai conglomerate based in Bangkok. It is Thailand's largest private company and one of the world's largest conglomerates. The company describes itself as having eight business lines covering 13 business groups. As of 2020 the group has investments in 21 countries.

When China opened its economy in 1978, the CP Group was the first foreign investor in the country and became the first foreign company registered in the special economic zone of Shenzhen, Guangdong. (Wikipedia)

Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group (CP) announced on Tuesday it is changing the name of its Tesco stores in Thailand and Malaysia to Lotus's. CP took over the stores from Tesco in 2020.

With the change, the Tesco brand, which expanded into Southeast Asia in the 1990s, will disappear from the region.

In the early 1980s, Tesco was a school example of profitability, growth, and store development, with investments and ambitions in virtually every continent. But by the end of the 90s luck turned. CEO Terry Leahy could no longer turn “everything” to gold. He lost big money in US, in East Europe and in the home market to Lidl and Aldi and was ousted in March 2010.

In 2014 the famous accounting scandal that revealed a big black hole in the company's accounts, that eventually was valued at £263 million, became official. After this gigantic scandal Tesco has never been the same, according to many analytics.

From Tesco Lotus to Lotus’s

Charoen Pokphand ran into financial difficulties following the Asian currency crisis in 1998, selling 75% of its stake in its Lotus supermarket chain to Tesco. CP however bought back the Southeast Asian business in December last year for about $ 10.6 billion, presumably the largest such deal in Thai history.

The change in ownership and hence brand marks the end of a 23-year presence of the British hypermarket chain in Thailand - where it was a household brand with over 2,000 locations across the country, known as “Tesco Lotus” stores. Now it is only “Lotus’s”.

Sources: Asian News, CP, Reuters, Bloomberg.

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