River City revamp looks to a local, younger image

The River City Shopping Centre is spending Bt320 million on a major facelift to draw more local shoppers.

The 42,000squaremetre riverside retail complex wants to reduce its dependence on foreign shoppers, which reached 90 per cent, and boost its traffic from 2,000-3,000 visitors a day to about 5,000 visitors when the makeover is completed in November.

About 95 per cent of centre's physical appearance has been already modernised.

The centre also wants to refresh its image, as it has been recognised by both local and foreign shoppers as a venue dedicated to art and antique works.

"We have changed the product mix by reducing the proportion of art and antique products from 65 per cent to 45 per cent, and allocated more retail space for restaurants and other merchandise, such as fashion and lifestyle products. From 200 tenants, about 25 per cent of them have been rotated according to the change of product mix," Thamsathit Chamsri, managing director of Chaophaya Development, said yesterday.

Located on Charoen Krung Soi 24, River City Shopping Centre was launched in 1984 by Chaophaya Development, a joint venture of ItalThai Group and Mandarin Oriental Holding BV.

The company wants to decrease the ratio of foreign visitors to 60 per cent and increase Thai visitors from 10 per cent to 40 per cent.

"We have seen an increasing number of young people, aged about 30 and up, who have been successful in their career, and enjoy their own lifestyle and identity. Their shopping style and characteristics have changed dramatically," he said.

After the facelift, River City would attract younger shoppers aged about 30 and up, compared to adults aged 45 and up before the repositioning.

River City had been seriously impacted by the international financial crisis, which had seriously usurped the spending power of foreign tourists, and the local political turmoil, which had ruined market sentiment, he said. They had also wrecked sales of luxury goods.

This was the first major renovation in the shopping centre's 25 years of existence. In 2000, it went through a cosmetic change in facilities and decoration.

The fourth floor will be remain a venue for art and antique objects, while the first and second floors will host a bazaar and restaurants.

Colliers International and Jones Lang LaSalle have been appointed as joint sales agents for commercial space totalling 12,500 square metres, of which 85 per cent has been already booked. Of the total space, 40 per cent is for shops, 15 per cent for riverside restaurants, 45 per cent for antique and decorative art items, and the rest for a spa and supermarket.

River City Shopping Centre is expected to generate Bt140 million in revenues this year, of which Bt100 million will come from the rent of commercial space and the rest from other services, including organising exhibitions and seminars. The company forecasts revenues increasing to about Bt180 million next year.


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