The Mall embarks on first-ever rebranding
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The Mall embarks on first-ever rebranding

Trying to sell image of 'a happy place'

Ms Supaluck, right, and Mrs Achara announce the rebranding of their malls, the first in 39 years.
Ms Supaluck, right, and Mrs Achara announce the rebranding of their malls, the first in 39 years.

The Mall Group, one of Thailand's biggest retail conglomerates, is rebranding its image for the first time in its 39 years of operations, with plans to splurge a combined 20 billion baht during 2019-23.

Supaluck Umpujh, 65, the group's chairwoman, said hefty spending by the group aims to turn all The Mall shopping and retail entertainment complexes to "The Mall Lifestores", with the concept of "a happy place to live life" in response to customers' changing lifestyle.

The new retail model was applied for the first time at The Mall Ngamwongwan branch, which is scheduled to officially launch on Nov 26 this year.

In addition to the branding change, the group's corporate identity will have a new logo with a red "M".

Materials used at the stores and the store design will also appear to make the store more green.

"This change aligns with our five-year business roadmap, from 2019 to 2023," said Ms Supaluck. "Despite the market uncertainty from the pandemic, we keep walking, doing, exploring and expanding. We have to be cautious about every move to become stronger."

She said The Mall Lifestore is no longer a department store or shopping complex, it is a place for people of all generations to have new experiences that mix between technology and humanity.

Achara Umpujh, the company's executive vice-president, said the company spent 4 billion baht to rebuild The Mall Lifestore Ngamwongwan in a new image.

The store has retail space of 300,000 square metres, comprising 6,000 sq m for Gourmet Market, a kid's park and a variety of services and products.

The company will also renovate Paragon mall under a new concept this year. The Mall Thapra and Bangkae will also see the Lifestore concept in 2021, while The Mall Bangkapi is slated for renovation in 2022.

All existing malls should be rebranded by 2023, she said.

Renovation plans for The Emporium will start next year, similar to The Mall Ramkhamhaeng, which is being remodelled.

Mrs Achara said the company will continue the construction of the 20-billion-baht Bangkok Mall and the 8-billion-baht EmSphere, but other processes such as space-selling plans will wait until the improvement of the economic and pandemic situation.

Ms Supaluck said normally the company takes 3-4 years to build a new retail complex, including a land deal, project design and construction.

With the pandemic, this may take longer because the group has to wait on partners and tenants, both domestic and foreign, to agree, she said.

"We never give up. We are a survivor in the market while more than 10 department stores have already thrown in the towel. We overcame the Asian financial crisis, SARS, heavy flooding, and we will overcome this pandemic," said Ms Supaluck.

"With the lessons we learned from these crises, we are now like a shark that knows how to fight and survive, not a dead stranded whale."

She called on the government to help strike a balance between economic collapse and health and safety.

Ms Supaluck suggested the government speed up travel bubble measures to bring tourists back to the country, adding the Board of Investment needs to be faster about awarding privileges to attract foreign investment, preventing them from moving their bases to Vietnam.

She said the group's business is seeing recovery on a monthly basis after sales dropped by about 30% in the first half of this year because of the pandemic.

"Our financial status remains strong and we are fortunate that our malls are located in prime locations and connected with the mass transit systems," said Ms Supaluck.

The Mall Group reported sales of 58 billion baht in 2019 and expects figures to contract by 10% this year. It expects sales to stay flat next year because the country's economy is expected to take about two years to recover from the pandemic.

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