Sunday, August 16, 2009

Future Park Rangsit plans to expand into community mall

Rangsit Plaza Co, the operator of Future Park Rangsit, plans to expand into mall management this year as smaller operators struggle to cope with the recession.

Ratana Anuntanupong, the company's vice-president for marketing, said the firm is negotiating with two or three struggling retailers in Bangkok on managing their operations.

Starting from this year, the company aims to add at least one retail project to its management portfolio each year, targeting smaller community malls.

The move into retail management is the company's first major strategic shift in more than 12 years of operations.

"We will delay our investment at 'Future City' temporarily because of the economic downturn and shift our focus to manage retail outlets instead to lower risks," said Ms Ratana.

Sales of Rangsit Plaza in the first half of the year were 750 million baht, up 5% from the same period last year.

The company took a modest hit from the spread of H1N1 flu because it has focused on new customer groups, specifically teenagers, who are less panicked by the flu outbreak than other groups.

About 150,000 customers visit Future Park Rangsit on weekend days and 130,000 each weekday. But the frequency of visits is down to four times per month, from 4.5 times last year. Spending per bill has fallen from 1,600 to 1,500 baht.

Ms Ratana said the company plans to spend another 100 million baht on marketing campaigns in the second half. They include the "Future Park Digital Expo 2009" which ends today.

Future Park will collaborate with 11 digital and mobile-phone firms to provide new technology products. It expects to earn 20 million baht from the event. IT and digital items are less effected by the downturn than other product categories.

Ms Ratana said that at least six big events will be arranged in the remaining five months of the year to draw customers to Future Park.

The company expects its 2009 sales to reach 1.5 billion baht, up 7% from last year.

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