Retailers upbeat over luxury gift basket sales

Competition in the gift basket market will soon intensify amid the approaching festive season, with retailers offering heavy discounts as consumers spending improves.

Retailers Tops Supermarket, Home Fresh Mart and Big C Supercenter foresee demand for hampers greatly picking up after the flood crisis dampened people's spending mood last season.

Promotions such as 33% discounts and 10-month instalment payments will be featured.

Phattaraporn Phenpraphat, the vice-president for marketing at Central Food Retail Co (CFR), the operator of Tops Supermarket, said a partnership with seven banks and financial institutions enables Tops to offer zero interest on three-month instalment plans.

The 70-million-baht campaign will offer up to 31% discounts on gift baskets from today until Jan 13.

More than 80 types of gift baskets are available at Tops Supermarket, said Nick Reitmeier, CFR's vice-president for import buying and own-brand and product development.

The company has prepared 800 gift items, many of which are being seen in Thailand for the first time.

These include Black Forest ham from Germany; mini bell-shaped bologna; a fresh seafood set containing lobster, Alaskan king crab and Fin de Claire oysters; and cheese and goose-fat sets.

Mrs Phattaraporn said last year's floods saw overall hamper sales to fall by 4.45% year-on-year to 772 million baht.

CFR, which accounts for 40% of gift hamper sales, expects the overall market's value to reach 890 million baht this year and 1.1 billion next year.

The Mall Group is also upbeat, introducing a 2013 Blissful Hampers campaign at Siam Paragon, The Emporium and all branches of The Mall shopping centre from tomorrow until Jan 5.

Up to 33% discounts will be offered at its branches of Home Fresh Mart, while Citi M cardholders can make six monthly instalments, said Kitipong Thumchutaphorn, the group's assistant general manager for procurement.

Prices will range from 1,190 to 20,000 baht.

"We're very optimistic about the rebound in purchasing power of customers, which has been evident since this year's third quarter," he said.

The Mall Group expects its New Year hamper sales will reach 200 million baht, up from 180 million baht in the same period last year.

Kudatara Nagaviroj, Big C's corporate affairs director, said its Gifts from the Heart campaign will feature 44 hamper varieties including imported Casino products priced from 239 to 4,820 baht.

Customers will also receive gift vouchers when purchasing the baskets with a Citibank-Big C Visa credit card.

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Writer: Pitsinee Jitpleecheep
Position: Business Reporter