Garrett pops off with Paragon premiere
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Garrett pops off with Paragon premiere

Predicts top three sales for the branch

Chicago-based Garrett Popcorn opened its newest flagship store at Siam Paragon yesterday, hoping the country becomes a top three revenue generator this year.

Lance Chody (left), chairman and chief executive of the Chicago-based company, presents Garrett Popcorn to the first customer at its flagship store at Siam Paragon yesterday.

The opening was overshadowed by protesters surrounding the mall.

"All parts of the world face challenges from time to time. Garrett flourished through the US economic crisis the past few years, and even with the political strife in Thailand, we will deliver," said Lance Chody, chairman and chief executive of Garrett Popcorn Shops.

The 45 square-metre store is operated by Caramel Crisp Thailand Co, a 50-50 joint venture with Suchad Chiaranussati, a real estate mogul.

Garrett Popcorn expanded overseas initially five years ago, after opening its first shop in the US in 1949.

The decision to enter the Thai market was a response to requests from Thai consumers via the company's website and social media.

"We've looked at Thailand for quite some time and spent a lot of money understanding your country and customers," said Mr Chody.

While the investment value was not disclosed, he expected a pay-back period of less than two years.

The Thai popcorn market is estimated at around 2 billion baht a year.

"We have a great location for our flagship store in the centre of Bangkok and expect many people will come to get their first taste of Garrett Popcorn in Thailand," said Mr Chody.

The Bangkok store targets serving around 6,000 consumers a week, compared to 9,000 at two stores in

Malaysia's and 35,000 in Singapore's seven stores.

But due to higher spending per purchase, the Paragon store is expected to become one of the top three grossing shops for Garrett Popcorn worldwide this year, he said.

The top two are Tokyo's Shibuya and its Chicago flagship. Customers for the Shibuya outlet average 700-800 per day with spending of US$17 each.

"With Shibuya, there is still a queue due to our inability to serve customers quickly,'' said Mr Chody.

"Since it takes longer to go through the line, customers are buying more than one bag."

Premium popcorn is offered from a range of 90 baht for a small packet to 2,300 baht for a two-gallon bucket. In addition to its most popular flavour, Chicago mix, six more are available comprising plain, caramel crisp, cheese corn, almond caramel crisp, cashew caramel crisp and macademia caramel crisp,

There are 40 Garrett Popcorn stores globally, with 20 more to be added this year in markets such as the

US, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Indonesia will be the fourth country in Asean, scheduled to open this year.

Competitors are entering the popcorn market, including Taokaenoi Food & Marketing Plc, well-known for its seaweed snacks. Last Wednesday it introduced its Tob Corn brand at Terminal 21 shopping centre, with a plan to open five more Tob Corn outlets in the future.

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