Firms don't expect spending to pick up in H2

Economy April 15, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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ENTREPRENEURS have revised their strategies to deal directly with the uncertainty in both the political and economic spheres, as they see no sign of a rebound in purchasing power in the second half of this year.

Chatchai Tuangrattanapan, director of the Thai Retailers Association, said last week that activities launched by local retailers to stimulate spending have run into difficulties.


The political vacuum had held up the government’s disbursement of the budget, delayed or suspended investment by the private sector and depressed the labour market. This then paralysed consumption, especially among the grassroots.

Growth of the retail industry was expected to decelerate to 6-7 per cent this year from 9 per cent last year, he said.


Boonchai Chokwattana, president of Saha Pathanapibul Plc, said the company needed to adjust constantly to deal with market uncertainty and negative factors, both in politics and the economy.


“We have adjusted our internal management and expanded distribution channels, such as social media and digital marketing. The move will serve consumer behaviour, which has changed quite rapidly,” he said.


The firm expects to increase its sales this year by 7 per cent to Bt31.1 billion from Bt29.8 billion last year.


“We have not seen any positive sign in the second quarter of this year that will make the situation better. The political problem, if it is prolonged to the end of this year, will have a severe impact on the overall economy. However, business is still hopeful that the conflict will end this month,” he said.


Another negative factor is the drought, which has cut harvests and the income of farmers, who are already suffering tremendously by not getting any money from the government’s rice-pledging scheme, he said.


Boonyarit Mahamontri, president of Lion Corporation (Thailand), said the company has set its management direction, business operation and marketing activities to be in line with the current situation and consumer demand, with the ultimate aim to maintain its sales.


“We will focus more on exporting this year to replace domestic sales, which have been impacted by the slowdown in purchasing power. We will focus on Asean, which is growing quite rapidly compared to other regions,” he said.


The company would invest about Bt2 billion this year to expand production capacity for oral and personal care products such as toothbrushes, toothpaste and detergent.


It expects to increase exports from 10 per cent of sales to 20-30 per cent in three years.