As the massive flood has hit many areas of Bangkok, it has seriously dampened the enthusiasm of local shoppers, with the number of daily visits to many malls down by as much as 20 per cent.
Satima Tanabe, deputy general manager of Gaysorn Shopping Centre, said the number of local visitors to the luxurious mall had dropped significantly – by between 15 and 20 per cent – because of the flooding. She said buyers’ moods were down and daily news reports were doing little to lift their spirits.
“We have seen the stress level of Bangkokians rising in the past two weeks as the flooding hits industrial estates in Ayutthaya and Pathum Thani, and it’s having a negative impact on the luxury retail sector, in particular,” she said.
Satima said major Gaysorn clients were business entrepreneurs and factory owners living in the outskirts of Bangkok who have been seriously affected by flooding.
She said these people would be spending much of their time concentrating on business restoration and continuity when the flood is over.
Satima said the flooding had not had an impact on foreign tourists, especially short-haul travellers from mainland China, Hong Kong and Singapore. Major hotels in the Ratchaprasong area, with more than 4,000 guest rooms in total, still report occupancy between 65 and 70 per cent.
“However, we expect the flood will have an impact on long-haul tourists if it is lasts for a long time and Western travellers cancel their trips to Thailand over the Christmas and New Year period,” she said.
Dr Nattakit Tangpoonsinthana, executive vice president for marketing of Central Pattana (CPN), said: “At the moment our shopping malls are not affected by the flood situation. Regarding the flood’s impact on business, it is still not possible to make a conclusion at the moment. We need to observe the situation further.
“Flood news could be having a psychological effect on consumers’ spending moods. However, the traffic at our shopping malls remains the same as people still come to buy essentials.” The number of tourists at CentralWorld and other tourist-oriented sites has also remained normal during the floods.
“We have only seen traffic drop by about 20 per cent at the malls that are near the flood-affected areas like CentralPlaza Rattanathibet and CentralPlaza Chaengwattana because of the inconvenience of commuting in those areas,” Nattakit said.
In addition, CPN last Thursday opened its 17th shopping complex, CentralPlaza Phitsanulok, the biggest shopping complex in lower northern Thailand, which spans 100,000 square metres of gross floor area with more than 200 shops. The new mall received a warm welcome from Phitsanulok people and nearby provinces. Traffic on opening day exceeded 80,000 people, higher than expected. CentralPlaza Phitsanulok anticipates average daily traffic at about 50,000.
More than 900 retail tenants at the Future Park shopping complex suffered combined sales losses of Bt300 million per day after it announced a temporary shutdown last Wednesday after flooding hit many surrounding areas in Rangsit. The mall normally attracts about 155,000 shoppers a day with Bt1,500 in average spending (per bill per head).
An official at Future Park said the number of visitors also dropped by about 30 per cent on October 8 when flooding hit the Pathum Thani area.
Source: The Nation