Central Embassy revamp unveiled

The revamped Central Embassy in Bangkok has been unveiled, its owners evidently conceding it miscalculated its original market positioning.

Since it opened in May 2014, the mall has struggled to attract large numbers of shoppers with some retail commentators previously likening it to a ghost town on weekdays, especially the upper floors.

Comments by Central Embassy MD Barom Bhicharnchitr to Thai media at the reopening this week suggest the mall has not been satisfied with footfall and it has changed the tenant mix to include more accessible brands in place of its original luxury focus.

The mall plans to increase traffic by 50 per cent, to about 30,000 people a day, and increase the number of foreign shoppers by a third.

Bhicharnchitr says footfall grew by 24 per cent in its first year, but slowed to 15 per cent growth last year. So far in 2016, visitor numbers are up 40 per cent.

“We are upgrading and adjusting the mix of tenant stores at our shopping complex by adding ‘accessible’ brands and traffic-generating anchors to lure more general shoppers and larger groups of customers,” he said.

“We have worked very hard over the past three years to make our retail complex dynamic and to [appeal to] new generations. We want to [attract] a wider group of shoppers to our retail complex, including family members, expatriates, and younger people aged 25 and below, as well as tourists,” he said.

Part of the THB18-billion renovation was unveiled yesterday, (Monday) and a new Grand Hyatt hotel will open on the site this Friday.

Like most large-scale malls, Central Embassy is focusing on mixing shopping, dining, entertainment, family attractions and accommodation on the one site.

New features include Open House, as featured in Inside Retail Thailand early last month, a “social hangout” called Siwilai City Club and an expanded Eathai dining precinct for Thai food.

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