SET-listed furniture and home furnishing chain Index Living Mall (ILM) looks set to resume its investments this year, having frozen them during the pandemic.
Starting from 2023, the company plans to open 1-2 new stores per year, as it did before Covid-19, according to Kanokwanrat Srimaneesiri, the company's chief financial officer.
Each store requires an investment of 120-130 million baht. The opening of each Index Living Mall format will depend on locations, local residents' spending power, and lifestyle.
The company will also expand its stores into second-tier cities, after mainly focusing on big cities in the past.
"We are optimistic about the prospects of the country's home and furnishing market this year, in part boosted by the government's recently approved 'Shop Dee Mee Khuen' tax rebate scheme and rapidly recovering tourism sector that will help stimulate the country's economy and money flows,'' Ms Kanokwanrat said.
The company currently operates 32 Index Living Mall stores across the country. The stores have been divided into three formats comprising The Walk, Little Walk, and Index Mall.
Ekalak Patamasatayasonthi, the company's senior vice-president for business development, said that apart from the current formats, the company is considering strategic alliances and finding partners who have conducted business related to or compatible with Index Living Mall's business model.
This scheme will help create a new business model to reach as many customers as possible in each location.
In a bid to capitalise on growing demand in eastern Bangkok, Kridchanok Patamasatayasonthi, the company's managing director, said the firm spent 200 million baht opening a new store in Lat Krabang last month. She said this has created new lifestyle shopping in the east of the city that links to the government's flagship Eastern Economic Corridor and the expansion of property business in the area.
According to Ms Kridchanok, Little Walk in Lat Krabang comes under the mixed-use concept, providing home and furnishing goods for all lifestyles.
The Little Walk Lat Krabang branch is the first project where the Index Living Mall concept has been included.
Little Walk Lat Krabang has a total space of 7,646 square metres, housing Villa Market, a supermarket that selects quality ingredients from around the world, and more than 40 tenants. It also provides customers with over 10,000 product items from standard furniture, personalised furniture and customised furniture.
Mr Ekalak said that Little Walk Lat Krabang is housed in a one-storey building and is the third such branch after Little Walk in Bangna and Pattaya. It has many anchors including Seoul U Mart, which sells imported products from South Korea.