Thursday, November 26, 2009

CPN approached for overseas mall development

Central GroupImage via Wikipedia

Mall developer Central Pattana has been approached by more than 10 foreign investors, mainly from China and India, about joint ventures to develop shopping complexes in their markets, president Kobchai Chirathivat said yesterday.

He said Central Pattana would invest about Bt1 billion to its first overseas joint venture to develop a shopping complex in China. The company will finalise the agreement with Chinese investors by early next year.

"Three or four foreign investors are going deeper into serious negotiations about joint venture and investment possibilities," said Kobchai.

Kobchai said the company had won many international awards this year, including the Gold Award for Development and Design Excellence from the International Council of Shopping Centres in October, and two awards - Best Mixed Use Development and Best Retail Development - at the Asia Pacific Property Awards 2009, held in July in association with CNBC.

"These international awards help Central Pattana to enhance its reputation among international investors, who have approached us to develop shopping complexes in their markets. Many of them come from potential markets like China and India," he said.

"We will however develop those overseas projects one at a time, as we need to take time to learn about and understand consumer behaviour in particular markets. We also prefer a joint-venture deal for every investment abroad, as we need expertise and local market knowledge from our partners."

Kobchai said Thailand's shopping-mall industry had started to recover in October and November, as evidenced by better shopper traffic and sales at tenant stores.

Nattakit Tangpoonsinthana, Central Pattana executive vice president for marketing, said the number of shoppers at all malls operated by the company had grown by 7 per cent in the first 10 months of the year compared to the same period last year.

Traffic at CentralWorld alone grew by almost 25 per cent in the period.

"We have seen a strong recovery in fashion products, which had dropped by almost 30 per cent year on year in the first half," said Nattakit.

Kobchai said that to cope with the economic recovery, Central Pattana would be more proactive in rolling out marketing activities to stimulate shoppers to visit its complexes.

"We will increase our marketing budget by between 5 and 10 per cent next year to about Bt600 million," he added.

Central Pattana yesterday launched the CentralPlaza shopping complex in Khon Kaen, which will have its grand opening on December 3.

Costing Bt4 billion, CentralPlaza Khon Kaen is located at the Mitraphab-Srichan intersection, covering over 45 rai and occupying retail space of more than 250,000 square metres.

It houses more than 300 leading tenant stores with major anchors that include Robinson Department Store, Tops Market, Power Buy, B2S, Super Sports, SF Cinema City, and SF bowling and karaoke centres.

The company will spend more than Bt100 million on next Thursday's grand opening under the concept "Weaving happiness to the heart of Isaan". Highlights include the most realistic T-Rex robot in the world, which is worth over Bt20 million, for the first time in Thailand.

Published on November 26, 2009

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