Bangkok retailers seek government aid
Massive flooding overwhelming outlying suburbs of Bangkok has severely affected the retail industry with an estimated 500 retail shops closed, causing a billion baht loss.
At the weekend the giant Central Lad Prao shopping centre was closed, cut off by rising floodwaters.
Thailand’s retail sector has asked the government to include retailers in its post-flood rehabilitation program ‘New Thailand’. In their plea, retailers are suggesting measures which can stimulate shopping and consumption.
Thai Retailers Association (TRA) president Busaba Chirathivat said that local consumption can facilitate a faster recovery for the retail industry and for the whole economy, than exports.
“Retail and shopping should be the first priority and can help promote tourism too because it stimulates local consumption in the retail, hotel and food sectors, which tourists contribute to,” Chirathivat said.
Chirathivat raised the need for a special department which can help and support retailers and proposed a review of the luxury products import tax. Lower import tax for luxury products can eventually prompt retail operators to reduce prices. This will help Thailand to attract more domestic and international shoppers, she argued.
“We need product prices to be lower than those of neighbouring countries,” Chirathivat said.
She said measures to support retailers would ensure the retail business recovered in December, resulting in the 1.3 trillion baht industry growing by at least six per cent by the end of the year.
TRA said making Thailand a shopping paradise can swiftly revive country’s economy.
“New ideas are not enough. The government has to act faster than in the past. It is not too late to highlight shopping as a strategy,” Chirathivat said.