Plans for new Central complexes go on
SET-listed property and retail developer, Central Pattana (CPN), is remaining committed to opening new shopping complexes this year and next year, as it remains upbeat about a better retail outlook during the coming period.
Nattakit Tangpoonsinthana, executive vice-president of marketing for CPN, said the company is confident Thailand's retail situation will recover after vaccines are made available and the government gradually eases its lockdown measures on certain business sectors.
"There may be higher unemployment and people still fret over their career and income stability and are cautious about spending. The company will continue allocating an average of 15-20 billion baht a year to develop new shopping complexes and renovate existing stores," said Mr Nattakit.
In 2021, the company plans to open two new shopping complexes in Sri Racha, Chon Buri in October and Ayutthaya in November this year.
According to a source from CPN who requested anonymity, the company also plans to open a new shopping complex in Chanthaburi next year as part of a mixed-use project.
The source said the combined investment of Central in Sri Racha and Central in Ayutthaya is about 5.2 billion baht, while the Chanthaburi project requires an investment of 3.5 billion baht. Three new retail projects will add a combined 203,000 square metres.
In addition, Mr Nattakit said the company will kick off its rebranding scheme in March this year to align with Central Group of Companies.
Under the rebranding scheme, the company's logo will be changed and every shopping complex's name will start with "Central", followed by the location. The company recently renamed Central Festival Samui to Central Samui.
Complex names have so far varied between CentralWorld, CentralPlaza, Central Festival and Central Village.
Mr Nattakit said that after the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration eased outbreak restrictions on 13 types of establishments on Friday, customer traffic at all 33 Central shopping complexes immediately increased by 5% in the following three days.
He said customer traffic at Central complexes in Bangkok averages 60-75% of levels before the crisis, depending on locations. Customer traffic at some branches, which rely on tourists, remains lower than average, with traffic at the Phuket branch standing at 55% and CentralWorld at 48%. Customer traffic at several complexes including Hat Yai, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Ubon Ratchathani, Chiang Rai and Salaya in Nakhon Pathom is still above average.
"We have doubled marketing spending to 200 million baht for the first quarter of this year," Mr Nattakit said.
"We expect customer traffic at our complexes to reach 80% [of normal levels] by the end of this year. We expect to be mired in the pandemic for 1-2 years. Traffic will fully turn around to 100% if there is no third wave of outbreaks and 100% of foreign tourists return to Thailand."