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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     20 October  2011

Flooding hits Thai retail sector

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Many retailers in the northern part of Bangkok have begun closing as flooding intensifies.

Future Park Rangsit closed as water levels on Vibhavadi-Rangsit Road in front of the mall threatened the safety of its 20,000 workers and 900 tenants, said Rattana Anunthanupong, vice-president for marketing at Rangsit Plaza Co.

Its major anchors, which also halted services, are Central Department Store, Robinson Department Store and Index Living Mall. However, the Home Pro and Big C Supercenter remained open.

Since last week, customer visits to Future Park Rangsit have dropped by 30% from 155,000 per day.

Tops Supermarket closed the Tops Daily at Rattanakosin 200 Years Road, another at Rangsit market and Tops Market at Future Park Rangsit.

Phattaraporn Phenpraphat, vice-president for marketing and public relations of Central Food Retail Co, said the company's crisis management team aims to help outlets in risky locations such as Sai Mai district and those near Chao Phraya River.

Big C closed its hypermarket in Nava Nakorn and will use it as a donation centre to help local residents and workers in the industrial estate.

Tesco Lotus has already closed about 25 Tesco Lotus Express outlets and two Talad Lotus branches with three distribution centres in Sam Khok (Pathum Thani), Wang Noi (Ayutthaya) and Bang Bua Thong (Nonthaburi). The company is setting up temporarily distribution centres in nearby provinces.

CP All Plc, the operator of 7-Eleven convenience stores, said about 150 outlets had already closed as of Tuesday. Its distribution centre in Bang Bua Thong is also closed because of inundation. However, the company still has an inventory of some products to supply its stores for 10 days.

Kridchanok Patamasatayasonthi, the managing director of Index Living Mall Co, the home furniture and furnishing retail chain, said it cut service hours at its stores in high-risk locations including Bang Yai, Rattanathibet and Rangsit.

The company has lost 1.2 million baht sales per day due to the floods as its shoppers dipped by 20-30%.

"When we build new outlets next year, we will lift up the ground floor by at least two metres, from the regular standard of one to 1.5 metres," she said.

Yanyong Phuangrach, the permanent secretary of the Commerce Ministry, said Tops Supermarket and CP All asked the ministry to provide 5,000 square metres of storage space each for their products.

Five chains including Big C, Tesco, Siam Makro and 7-Eleven also asked it for around 120 trucks to use in distributing goods during the floods.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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