Thai retailer Big C Supercenter has outlined plans to invest THB8bn ($272m) to expand its retail portfolio with the launch of 200 stores across the country in 2013.

The retail chain also plans to launch two distribution centers in northern and eastern Bangkok by April 2013.

The total investment comprises of TBH5bn ($170m) for retail outlets and TBH3bn ($102m) towards expansion of distribution centers in the country.

The retail expansion includes launch of six hypermarkets, 13 Big C Markets, 150 Mini Big Cs and 50 Pure drug stores.

Big C properties executive vice president Praphan Eamrungroj stated that the chain is looking to leverage the market potential for convenience stores in the country, increasing its Mini Big C store count by two-fold.

"We’re very positive about the government’s investment of 2 trillion baht in infrastructure. With more roads to be developed in many provinces, this will create more opportunities to develop new stores," noted Eamrungroj.

The retailer plans to open 50-70 new Mini Big C stores over the next one year.

Moreover, Big C has inked an exclusive agreement with state-owned Bangchak Petroleum to unveil Mini Big C outlets at 500
Bangchak petrol stations across the nation.

The move is said to be on back of positive response it garnered from test run launch of 10 convenience stores at Banchak stations in 2012.

Mini Big C stores expected to be launched at these stations are planned in two formats, of which large superstore spanning 200m² will stock 4,800 products.

Smaller outlets of 150m² are reportedly designed for highway sites that will house 3,800 items.

Further the retailer is set to renovate its existing retail stores with space extension at its stores located in provinces such as Mukdahan, Loei, Udon Thani and Sa Kaeo.

With this expansion, Big C will achieve a retail portfolio of 555 outlets in 2013 including 119 hypermarkets, 31 Big C Markets, 275 Mini Big Cs and 140 Pure drug stores.