Gaysorn Land Asset Management Co, the operator of Gaysorn shopping centre, is urging the government to review the structure of import duties on luxury fashion and brand name products to increase the country's competitiveness against Hong Kong and Singapore.
Deputy general manager Satima Tanabe said the import duty for fashion products is 20-30%, quite high compared with other countries, meaning higher prices for shoppers.
"Pricing is a key factor for foreign shoppers. The government should have a clear strategy to promote tourism and domestic consumption within the country. Retailers have talked about reducing import duties with many governments, but nothing happens," she said.
Demand for luxury fashion goods has grown rapidly in Thailand, so it needs to stay competitive, said Mrs Satima.
Brand-name shops at Gaysorn enjoyed record sales last December despite the heavy floods, and the retailer predicts the sales momentum will continue this year.
More luxury brands have been parading to Asia, as the US and Europe are stuck in neutral.
The mall has received requests from more than 10 fashion brands to open a shop there.
Narun Thamavaranukup, the managing director of PMT The Hour Glass, an importer of luxury watches, said 40-200 luxury brand names plan to open shops across Asia this year.
Mrs Satima said sales of international fashion brands at Gaysorn last year increased by 34%, Thai designer brands rose by 35%, watches and jewellery by 36% and lifestyle products by 60%.
Sales growth in all categories doubled from 2010.
Average spending per head at Gaysorn rose to 20,000 baht last year from 16,000-18,000 baht in 2010.
Visitors numbered 10,000 per day last year and are expected to rise to 12,000 this year. Of the total, 70% were foreign tourists, with Chinese and Taiwanese spending the most.
Gaysorn will start marketing campaigns in Chinese this year for the first time.
Yesterday, the mall announced it will celebrate its 10th anniversary by teaming with several luxury brands to host a number of artisan and fashion-cum-art events throughout the year.
Gaysorn also plans a makeover of its mall this year, but the executive did not elaborate.