Thai apparel company sees bright prospects in Myanmar market

Mc Group, a publicly traded Thai clothing company known for its Mc brand of denim jeans will ramp up its push to dominate the Myanmar market by expanding outlet openings by its authorised sales agent across the country.

Mc Group Chief Executive Officer Sunee Seripanu said Mc Group holds a 40-percent market share in Myanmar and has seen 75-per cent growth at its 16 Mc outlets in the first three quarters of this year.

Up to 15,000 items were sold in the first nine months, up from 9,000 items over the same period last year.

The group sells its products in Myanmar through its authorised sales agent HBT Co Ltd, which imports Mc jeans from Thailand through the Mae Sot border crossing.

Mc Group boasts 16 points of sale in Myanmar (in Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw), one in Laos and another in Vietnam. Mc Group boasts about 760 outlets in Thailand, including one in Samut Sakhon’s Mahachai district, the largest enclave of migrant Myanmar workers in Thailand.

The Myanmar market shows increasing potential for growth, thanks to the public’s increasing purchasing power and the country’s changing fashion trends.

“We entered the Myanmar market two years ago by appointing our sales agent. So far, we are quite satisfied with the stunning growth rate this year. When we first got here, we focused on selling shirts, not jeans, which was quite a great success. But these days, our jeans sell very well, especially children’s wear under the Mc Mini brand,” Sunee said.

To the win the hearts of her Myanmar customers, Sunee relies on a team of young designers to come up with new designs that are compatible with Myanmar cultural sensibilities.

“We know the people like the longyi because they like anything that’s loose and airy. So our designers have come up with baggy, loose-fitting jeans specifically for the Myanmar market so that the jeans give them the same feeling as wearing a longyi. The denim is also thinner than what we use in Thailand,” said Sunee.

“Jeans are still considered clothing for low-wage labourers in Myanmar. I’m determined to change that mindset with our products. Our cutting and sewing quality is much better than that of our rivals on the market. When the people have more purchasing power, they will go for quality products,” said Sunee.

She added that Mc Group has focused on raising brand awareness over the past two years by hiring presenters to promote its products, capitalising on the country’s relatively low advertising costs. The company plans to launch an advertising blitz using radio, billboards, magazines and public buses in the near future.

In 2014, Mc Group targets to open 100 points of sale and shops across Thailand, taking its number of outlets to 700. With presence in Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar, the company also plans to distribute products in Indonesia, Malaysia and Hong Kong International Airport. The Asean Economic Community team was set up to explore more market opportunities in the region. Asean sales are expected to grow to one fourth of total sales within the next five years, from less than 10 per cent last year.

Source: The Nation

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