Silence at local malls

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The atmosphere at NaRaYa, a popular bag retailer at Ratchaprasong intersection, has completely changed during the past several months. Long queues of customers and busy cashiers are sights not seen at the flagship store since the coronavirus outbreak.

A similar fate has befallen Big C Supercenter’s Ratchadamri branch, whose Thai souvenir zone on the ground floor used to be a hotspot for Chinese shoppers but has now gone quiet. It’s the same story at Tao Kae Noi Land’s Terminal 21 shop, another draw for Chinese tourists. “Tour buses and almost all Chinese shoppers have gone away,” said a salesperson at Big C Ratchadamri who asked not to be named. “I am no longer adding products to the Thai souvenir shelves three or four times a day.”

Tenants at MBK shopping centre near Siam Square also share the same harsh experience. A sharp fall in sales prompted tenants two days ago to gather in protest against MBK and ask management to come up with aid measures such as reducing the rent. Somphol Tripopnart, managing director of shopping centre business at MBK Plc, said the company is working on short- and long-term measures to help tenants. Last week, traders at Platinum Fashion Mall sent an open letter to the management seeking support, while a Platinum spokesman said management is also mulling a reduction in rent during these tough times. A source at the Mall Group said the company has yet to consider any aid measures for its tenants. Supoj Chaiwatsirikul, managing director of Iconsiam Co Ltd, said the company has set aside more than 50 million baht to launch the “Iconsiam, Thais Help Thais” campaign, offering sales and marketing promotions and concerts from February to May. Moreover, the “SOS Sale of Iconsiam” from Feb 28 to March 1 will provide discounts of up to 90% and special prices on products.

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