Retailers keen to open in Bangkok
Bangkok has been ranked eighth among retail target markets in Asia-Pacific, with 19 new entrants opening stores last year, according to a report by property consultancy CB Richard Ellis (CBRE).
James Pitchon, head of research and consulting at CBRE Thailand, said Bangkok was one of the hotspots for retail development in Southeast Asia, with 1 million square metres of new retail space due this year.
With the opening of new shopping malls such as EmQuartier, Central WestGate and CentralFestival East Ville as well as an increase in international tourists in Bangkok, especially from China, CBRE expects the number of new entrants in 2015 to be more than in 2014.
The coffee and restaurants sector is expected to create the largest proportion of new entrants in Bangkok, while mid-range fashion brands will continue to expand.
Cities in Asia-Pacific saw 464 new retail entrants in 2014 — 23% more than in 2013.
Tokyo saw the most retail entrants (63), followed by Singapore (58), Taipei (49), Hong Kong (45) and Beijing (34).
The luxury and business category saw the greatest share of new entrants at 22.6% last year, but the biggest climber was coffee and restaurants at 22.4%, up from just 14.8% in 2013.
US retailers made the most new entries into Asia-Pacific, accounting for 24%, followed by Italy and Britain with 11%, then French retailers at 10.5%.
Japan was the top Asia-Pacific entrant in fifth place, with 6.9% of market entries.
Jonathan Hsu, head of occupier markets research at CBRE Asia, said international retailers had long looked to establish themselves in Asia-Pacific by first setting up in more mature markets such as Japan or Hong Kong before using them as a base to launch elsewhere in the region.
Last year, Tokyo cemented its lead as the top destination in Asia-Pacific for market entries by international retailers.
The attraction of Tokyo as a gateway market was driven by growth in domestic consumption off the back of Japan's economic rebound, anticipation surrounding the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and robust growth in tourist arrivals.
As gateway markets, Singapore and Hong Kong will continue to attract interest from new brands.
However, Hong Kong retailers will need to adjust to weaker demand for luxury goods from tourists from China.