Thai retailers cut growth forecast
Thai retailers have cut their growth forecast for 2015 by nearly half, citing economic conditions and the drought.
Last year’s Thailand’s retail growth was 6.3 per cent despite widespread protests, a military coup and curfews. But this year, with the nation running more normally at business level, the Thai Retailers Association is now expecting a growth rate of just 3.2 per cent.
TRA president Jariya Chirathivat says the drought, growing household debt and slow government investment in infrastructure ‘mega projects’ is subduing consumer confidence and retail spending.
In the first half of 2015, Thailand’s GDP rose by three per cent… but retail sales grew by a lacklustre 2.8 per cent, despite inbound tourism numbers beginning to grow again after 2014’s disruptions. Foreign tourist arrivals rose 27.4 per cent in the first six months of this year.
By category, supermarket sales rose a strong 8.5 per cent – faster than hypermarkets and convenience stores which grew by 1.5 per cent and 2.8 per cent. Specialty store sales rose 2.7 per cent.
Observes Jariya: “In my opinion, the retail business in the second half will not be bright, as many economic measures such as infrastructure investment may not achieve what the government expects.”