Kokuyo plans stores for people working from home

Japanese office furniture maker Kokuyo is to open retail shops in Thailand targeting the growing ranks of people who work from home.

Kokuyo Thailand is a joint venture between the Japanese parent (which holds 49 per cent) Central Group and local furniture maker Practicable.

The company has opened a 250sqm showroom for walk-in customers on the ninth floor of Bangkok’s CentralWorld on Rama 1.

“We are studying a dealer system as well as opening sales corners or shops in department stores in the next stage,” CEO Tarida Klaipracha told The Nation newspaper.

A larger, 400sqm showroom is being planned for another shopping mall in 2020.

Klaipracha said that when the company launched in Thailand in 2004, it focused on supplying office furniture to Japanese companies operating in the kingdom, broadening the target to Thai companies as it gained critical mass.

“We achieved THB460 million (US$14.7 million) in total sales last year, up from THB430 million in 2016. Japanese clients accounted for 70 per cent of our sales with the balance to non-Japanese firms,” she said.

“We aim to achieve Bt600 million in sales in 2020, with Japanese companies accounting for half of the total. About 5 per cent of sales is expected to non-Japanese clients who will be end-consumers.”

MD Sachio Kobayashi said Kokuyo saw huge opportunity in the Thai office furniture market because there is no real major player in the category.

The Thai office also oversees the Myanmar and Cambodia markets, while its Malaysian subsidiary looks after the Philippines and Vietnam.

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