MAJOR MALL operators have continuously invested in facelifts and expansions of their shopping centres to keep pace with the government’s policy of promoting tourism and trying to make Thailand the ultimate destination for shopping and lifestyle in Asean.
Charun Poopat, vice president for marketing communications and the customer management group at Seacon Development Plc, said that the Seacon Square shopping complex on Srinakarin Road had opened a new food zone on October 15 at the cost of Bt800 million. The new food complex comprises 15 fine-dining restaurants and another three restaurants with open space.
He said that the shopping centre would next year invest another Bt1 billion to expand its shopping space by 50,000 square metres, with a new five-storey building to add more retail shops to the complex.
Seacon Square Srinakarin currently has total retail space of about 500,000 square metres.
Seacon Development also operates Seacon Square Bang Kae.
“Almost 80 per cent of shoppers at our Seacon shopping complexes are Thais, thanks to our diversified marketing events and activities, which have got good interest and responses from various groups of people,” Charun said.
“For this year-end campaign, we will reduce entertainment activities as we are in the mourning period for our late King. But we will focus on providing foods and gift products for the coming New Year.”
Naratipe Ruttapradid, senior executive vice president of Siam Piwat, operator of Siam Center, Siam Discovery and Siam Paragon, said that the company would reduce all entertainment activities over the coming months.
“We instead will focus on attractive promotional campaigns to stimulate the spending of local shoppers at this difficult time,” she said.
“Any event to be hosted at the end of this year is to remind us of our late king. There are drawings ofthe King’s portraits made by local artists and shirt screens made by local designers to be distributed to visitors and shoppers free of charge.”
Naratipe said that Siam Piwat would continue to invest this year and next year in giving its malls a facelift.
“We are investing Bt4 billion in the renovation of Siam Discovery, including the opening of a new food zone on the ground floor of the shopping complex at the cost of Bt600 million. We will also invested Bt1 billion in the facelift of Siam Paragon on the third, fourth and M (Parc Paragon) floors of the complex,” she said.
Somphol Tripopnart, managing director of MBK Group, said that said that during this time of sadness and mourning for the late King, Thai people were not motivated to |shop for anything other than necessary products.
“About 60 per cent of shoppers at MBK are foreign tourists and they come and buy goods at our shopping centre as normal,” he said.
Somphol said that the MBK shopping centre would cut its New Year entertainment activities.
“We want to communicate to foreign tourists so they know more about Thailand and our King,” Somphol said.
“Thai people will be able to absorb more about the late King’s guidance, such as the sufficiency economy.”
Somphol said that with the completion of skywalk project at the end of last month, MBK would continue to invest in the internal facelift of the shopping centre, which would be extended to next year.
Wallaya Chirathivat, president of the Thai Shopping Centre Association (TSCA), said that local shopping centres had a combined retail ground-floor area of 18 million sq m and another 700,000 sq m would be added between this year and next year.
Wallaya said there would be a combined investment of Bt70 billion allocated to the development of new malls and the renovation or expansion of existing ones.
“Shopping centre developers have been investing in new mega projects, lifestyle shopping malls, renovations and expansions in Bangkok and major tourist destination cities such as Phuket and Pattaya, and will also expand into the cities that will play a major part in the Asean Economic Community era such as [in] Rayong, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Nakhon Ratchasima, and Khon Kaen,” she said.
“This is to help propel the economy, attract foreign tourists and investors. This ensures Thailand of having the most comprehensive shopping destinations and lifestyle centres in the region and leading the country towards being the No 1 shopping paradise in Asean.”