Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mall Korat fends off rivals

The Mall Group is spending 500 million baht to revamp its Korat branch as competition heats up in the Northeast's retail market with the arrival of rival operators.

Preecha Limoau, general manager of The Mall Korat, said the company closed parts of its Nakhon Ratchasima store for a major renovation last month and expects to complete the work by April 1.

The facelift will increase retail space by 13,000 square metres to house IT and electrical goods outlets, restaurants and financial and health services.

The company also is changing the look on other floors and will increase the number of small retail shops in its City Walk to 400 from 250.

Jakkrit Keeratichokchaikun, chief merchandising officer of Power Mall, said the company would increase the space of Power Mall at Korat by 50% to 3,500 sq m, making it the largest IT and electrical goods outlet in the Northeast.

Mr Preecha said the opening of a Central shopping complex in Khon Kaen in early December had not affected The Mall's business so far. Only 1% to 3% of its customers came from Khon Kaen.

"Consumers in Korat have strong purchasing power because of the strong agricultural fundamentals. At present, the production of tapioca, the main cash crop here, is too short to supply the export market," he said.

Local people's lifestyles had been changing with the entry of The Mall Korat, with more people able to afford mid- to high-priced goods, he said.

"Sales growth at Korat in the first eleven months of this year was 14%, higher than the group's average growth of 5%," Mr Preecha said.

Mr Jakkrit said Power Mall would stage Electronica, an electrical and IT exhibition, at The Mall Korat by the end of next month.

The company expects to spend 50 million baht on the 11th Bangkok Electronica 2010 from today until Jan 5 at The Mall Bang Kapi and The Mall Bang Khae. It expects at least 100,000 visitors and 400 million baht in sales.

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