Central Retail Corporation (CRC), the country's biggest retailer, opened a new Robinson Lifestyle complex yesterday worth 1.3 billion baht in Phuket.
The move is part of CRC's 17-billion-baht five-year investment plan (2022-2026), which aims to raise the number of Robinson Lifestyle outlets to between 37 and 43 by 2026, aligning with the burgeoning economic and tourism developments on the island.
According to Philippe Broianigo, Robinson Lifestyle's chief executive of property and business development under CRC, nestled within a sprawling retail space of 43,000 square metres, Robinson Lifestyle's Chalong branch was designed using a "Carnival Village" concept.
Mr Broianigo said Chalong is a strategic location in Phuket as the commercial centre of the gulf, featuring Chalong port and many tourist attractions, making it a popular tourist destination. The population of Phuket is growing and 75% of residents are of working age, making it a high-potential location, he said.
"The new Chalong store is poised to cater to the growing influx of tourists during the ongoing economic recovery phase. This inauguration is also in sync with Phuket's grand vision of becoming a prominent centre for tourism education and service innovation, with a focus on sustainable development and international standards," said Mr Broianigo.
He said the new complex offers an all-encompassing "Eat-Shop-Play" experience under one roof, featuring anchors such as Tops, Starbucks, MK Restaurant, Everyday Grab & Go, fashion boutiques, cutting-edge technology, gadgets, along with a Major Cineplex.
The Chalong project marks the 28th Robinson Lifestyle complex, extending the brand's presence across 25 provinces. Over the next five years, the company plans to expand its coverage to encompass 49 provinces.
"We make a significant difference when we enter each location. Being larger than our competitors, we provide an unparalleled array of choices and aim to offer customers an experience akin to Bangkok's lifestyle, but at more affordable prices," he said.
In its initial phase, Robinson Lifestyle Chalong has opened its doors with 60-70% capacity and anticipates full completion of the complex by the end of the year.
The company projects weekday traffic of 15,000-18,000 visitors and a weekend surge of 20,000-25,000 consumers.
"The impact of Covid-19 was very interesting, as it served as an accelerator for the retail business and all the associated trends. As a business operator, we have to adapt ourselves," said Mr Broianigo.
Moreover, the company has partnered with established brands that remained resilient amid economic challenges, allowing them to grow alongside Robinson.
When it comes to smaller tenants, CRC has extended its support to them as well as local brands by offering reduced rents and incentives, fostering their business growth, he said.
Robinson also created its own retail brands, including Everyday a Food House as the complex's food court, Sunday playland & entertainment, and an international restaurant named "Joy!".
"We strive to provide customers with happiness at an affordable price point. Our in-house brands complement our tenants, reinforcing the importance of offering an extensive variety of choice to our valued customers," said Mr Broianigo.
"We are trying to provide customers with something we can operate for them to be happy with at affordable prices. Having our own brands is complementary and we still have to grow with our tenants. We don't want to replace tenants, but we want to reinforce having plenty of choice for our customers."